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Rescue experts build State's skill

Published: 27th November 2010

More than 20 firefighters and paramedics have spent the past month completing a rigorous training course to hone their building collapse search, rescue and medical skills, Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan said today.

Mr Whan said the intensive NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training program at its Ingleburn and Milperra training centres was integral to the State's specialised rescue capability.

"Ensuring all our emergency services work together to be as well-prepared as they can possibly be is a priority for the NSW Government," he said.

"Twenty-two NSWFB rescue officers and two NSW Ambulance Service Special Casualty Access Team (SCAT) paramedics from the Greater Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra areas participated in this latest training course.

"Members of the NSW Police Force, NSW Health and Department of Services, Technology and Administration also provided valuable support to the multi-agency training effort.

"The multi-disciplinary 60-member NSW USAR taskforce, led by the NSW Fire Brigades, includes fire rescue officers and specialists in trauma medicine, building engineering and hazardous materials."

Mr Whan said more USAR training courses would be held next year to bolster Australia's largest specialised urban rescue capability.

He said the NSWFB regularly participated in a range of disaster planning and multi-agency training exercises across the State.

"These crucial exercises, such as this building collapse rescue course, ensure we are prepared for a range of emergencies and give staff both vital knowledge and practical experience of tough conditions and multi-agency protocols," Mr Whan said.

He said the joint agency rescue training program reflected the State's coordinated emergency response arrangements and the day-to-day teamwork between the emergency services.

"This approach to joint training is reflective of the way our fire officers and SCAT paramedics work together in the community on a daily basis.

Mr Whan said the State and Federal Governments had invested heavily in building the NSWFB's USAR capability, including delivering two purpose-built USAR trucks to the Hunter and Illawarra earlier this year.