A boat is on fire in Geographe Bay. Several 000 callers report the incident and that they can see a life raft being deployed from the burning vessel. The next call comes from the people on the raft. Two of them have burns and are in shock, a third has suspected spinal injuries. They also report that they have been separated from their kids who may still be on board the burning vessel.
That was one of the scenarios during a large scale interagency training exercise in Dunsborough in the Lower South West in May 2017.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Air Operations, Busselton and Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS), Bunbury based RAC Rescue Helicopter, WA Police and St John Ambulance took part in the large scale joint exercise.
DFES Air Operations Officer Troy Stubberfield said exercises such as these allow emergency services personnel and rescue helicopter crew to practice working together under different operational conditions.
“Helicopter winch operations are an important part of sea rescue and the only way an aircraft can retrieve an injured person from a vessel unless there is a helipad,” he said.
“During the exercise we winched from three vessels, the life raft and the Busselton and Naturaliste VMRS vessels.”
Sea rescue volunteers practiced fire suppression, injury management and transfer of patients between the vessel and the raft to the helicopter. When they reached shore they worked with St John Ambulance.
The second scenario of the day involved a man overboard after an altercation on a fishing boat.
As crews completed the training for the evening and were returning to base, Busselton VMRS assisted a real time rescue. A recreational vessel that had lost power was towed back to shore.