‘Fiery crash’ tests emergency response

Busting through early morning fog on RAAF Base Richmond’s airfield, a team of Air Force firefighters dashed towards a fiery crash.

CAPTION: Air Force firefighters during the airfield emergency plan rehearsal at RAAF Base Richmond. Story by Flight Lieutenant Dean Squire. Photo by Sergeant Greg O’Neill.

The smoke and flames around a C-130 Hercules air frame added realism to a simulated major incident designed to test the base’s emergency response.

There were 20 simulated casualties on board the C-130 who presented with predictable but challenging injuries.

NSW Police, Fire and Ambulance crews waited close by to test first responders and the professional relationships that save lives.

The simulated incident was the result of considerable planning, with the finer details kept secret from participants for very good reason, according to the Commanding Officer of No. 22 Squadron Wing Commander, Shawn Bellas.

“By delivering a very realistic scene with no significant brief, we can quickly see how all the rescue and recovery teams respond and can gauge the outcomes to the incident if it was real,” Wing Commander Bellas said.

“The scale of this exercise provided a tremendous opportunity to see how Air Force and other emergency responders work together.”

Air Mobility Group’s Chief of Staff Group Captain Nicholas Pratt was impressed with the cooperation of Air Force and other agencies.

“Air Force enjoys great relationships with local agencies and it’s so reassuring that when we come together facing a common problem we are all able to work well with each other in dealing with what would be a devastating event if real,” Group Captain Pratt said.

“It’s vital that we conduct joint exercises like this to keep skills current, relationships strong and an understanding of each organisation’s role and needs.”

The spectacle at RAAF Base Richmond’s air field included a fleet of fire tenders, ambulances and a rescue helicopter.

A sea of blue flashing lights, responders breathing from their own air supply and the ferrying of wounded casualties on stretchers eventually gave way to business as usual for the base.

Work has started on the lessons learned and improvements needed for when the RAAF Base Richmond emergency teams are called on next.





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