Signallers and civvies getting on same wavelength for emergencies

Signallers from the 7th Combat Brigade are improving how they support civilian emergency services in the event of a high-risk weather season (HRWS) call-out.

CAPTION: Soldiers from the 7th Combat Signal Regiment apply camouflage cream to a student at Gympie East State School. Story by Captain Jesse Robilliard. Photo by Patrick Maher.

The 7th Combat Signal Regiment (7 CSR) recently conducted a HRWS certification exercise in the Wide Bay region, Queensland, including at Gympie East State School.

Lieutenant Madeline Mackie said 7 CSR signallers practised setting up a communication node at short notice.

“We have power, integral to the unit node, so this formation node could roll out completely by itself with no support,” she said.

“We are getting the guys to rehearse rolling out all their services, and fault-finding any issues in preparation for the high-risk weather season.”

Also taking part in the training were personnel from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

Superintendent Craig Stolte, from QFES, said both organisations were able to integrate their communications.

“We have been trying to expand our understanding of the capabilities the ADF brings to emergency services,” he said.

“We’ve explored a few opportunities here at the technical level, such as linking radios. It seems to be such a simple thing to do, but it can be quite complex.”

Significantly, Lieutenant Mackie said signallers from 7 CSR were able to extend the range of the QFES civilian radio network through military means.

“We’ve borrowed their radios and integrated them into our own network,” she said.

“We have used our capability together with theirs so we can now act as range extensions to provide a larger remit, or an area that they can operate in.”

Superintendent Stolte said the portable satellite communications used by 7 CSR could be very useful in a civilian setting.

“In a disaster such as a cyclone, we have very small townships that we have to assess and the QFES doesn’t have some of the tool-sets the ADF has, such as rapidly deployable satellite-based communication systems,” he said.

“That would be a great opportunity for us to work with the ADF to take that communication system to a small town.”

Following the activity on the school oval at Gympie East State School, 7 CSR and the QFES conducted a capability display for curious students.





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