MFS delivers world-class USAR training

MFS delivers world-class USAR training to interstate fire services

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

MFS Image - USAR - DSC_0626 web

For the first time, the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) has put interstate firefighters through their paces to deliver world-class Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training.

Twenty Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) firefighters and one Ambulance Tasmania (AT) paramedic flew to Adelaide to undertake a 48-hour exercise being hosted and delivered by the MFS at its Angle Park training facility.

They faced a hazardous mock disaster scene involving an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, with collapsed buildings, trapped casualties and disrupted gas, water and power services.

While the 48-hour exercise was underway, the MFS is also hosted seven Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service (NTFRS) firefighters who completed a USAR skills development program with the MFS.

The NT firefighters perfected their technical rescue skills in concrete cutting, timber shoring, heavy lifting and trench rescue.

The selection of the MFS to host and deliver USAR training to interstate fire services is a compliment to the organisation’s high standard of USAR training and realistic training facilities.

What is USAR?

MFS Image - USAR - DSC_0611 webInternational disasters such as earthquakes in recent decades prompted the development of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capabilities in developed countries more than 20 years ago.

In Australia, every state and territory has a USAR team that is trained to international standards and able to travel interstate or overseas to respond to a significant incident at little notice.

USAR teams generally comprise emergency services personnel, paramedics, engineers, doctors, canine handlers and forensic specialists and are designed to be self-sufficient while deploying to disasters across the world.

In South Australia, the MFS develops and maintains South Australia’s USAR capability, which comprises members from the MFS, SES, Defence SA, SA Health and Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

When disaster strikes…

MFS Station Officer and USAR Technician, Paul Winter said, “When disaster strikes, USAR teams from across Australia and the world must deploy and work together seamlessly. That’s why it’s vital that USAR teams within Australia have the opportunity to train together”.

“The relationships, knowledge and skills developed during combined training contributes to an integrated emergency response when MFS and interstate USAR teams deploy to the same disaster scenes together,” MFS Station Officer Winter said.

Tasmania Fire Service District Officer, Mark Dobson said, “Australia’s USAR teams rely on inter-jurisdictional support from across the country, including shared training opportunities”.

“Training exercises such as the one we’ve undertaken with the MFS in Adelaide ensure that when a major disaster occurs, state and territory USAR teams can integrate easily due to using similar equipment, techniques and terminology that is designed to enhance interoperability,” District Officer Dobson said.