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Australian fire and rescue officer in Japan receives cut to face while in the field

Published: 18th March 2011

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins has advised that a member of the NSW's search and rescue team in Japan has received a cut to his face while assisting in search and rescue efforts.

Commissioner Mullins said the fire and rescue officer was in the field and went to the assistance of one of the Task Force's search dogs who became entangled in debris.

"Unfortunately while extricating the dog, it became frightened and has bitten the officer on the face," said Commissioner Mullins.

Doctors and paramedics in the Task Force have provided immediate medical attention and his condition is stable.

Given the inhospitable nature of the terrain and the importance of looking after the health and welfare of the Australian rescuers, the injured officer and a doctor will be airlifted to the US Airforce base at Yokota for further treatment. The officer's family has been informed.

Commissioner Mullins also wanted to assure the Australian community that the health and welfare of the Task Force was of paramount importance and members were at no risk from radiation in their current location.

"The Task Force has onsite Hazmat technicians who continue to monitor for any potential radiation using a number of different detectors. We are in constant contact with authorities in Australia and in Japan.

The Task Force's base of operations is 139 kms north of areas of concern, which is well outside the exclusion areas, and all readings at our base camp show no increase in normal background radiation levels," said Commissioner Mullins.

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