For­mer Deni man’s flood res­cue hon­our

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JAMIE LOWE

For­mer De­niliquin res­i­dent An­thony Wall­gate and his team from Fire & Res­cue NSW were recog­nised at the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Wa­ter Res­cue Pro­fes­sional Con­fer­ence held in In­di­ana, USA last month.

Mr Wall­gate, along with fel­low swift­wa­ter res­cue ex­perts Shan­non Crofton and James Boland, re­ceived the Hig­gins and Lan­g­ley Memo­rial Award for Pro­gram De­vel­op­ment at the pres­ti­gious event.

The award was earned by the trio for their work on the FRNSW flood res­cue train­ing pro­gram, which helps train fire and res­cue staff in the field of flood res­cue.

Mr Wall­gate, 52, said he felt ‘‘quite hon­oured’’ to win the award.

‘‘The main goal of the pro­gram is to keep fire­fight­ers safe and to pro­tect peo­ple,’’ he said.

‘‘Fire and Res­cue has started an on­line com­po­nent to the pro­gram, but there are three main com­po­nents.

‘‘The first is land base, which teaches ev­ery­one wa­ter safety, cer­tain skills and res­cue tech­niques when deal­ing with flood­ing.

‘‘We then move to wa­ter base where teams go into the wa­ter and put their res­cue skills to the test, and then there’s the he­li­copter com­po­nent, which in­cludes winch­ing and get­ting peo­ple into the air­craft as quickly and safely as pos­si­ble.

‘‘The pro­gram has been rolled out to all fire­fight­ers and is avail­able on all mo­bile de­vices as well.

‘‘When we first de­vel­oped the pro­gram we were lucky in a way that we were able to road test the tech­niques through ac­tual res­cues.

‘‘At the mo­ment we have five wa­ter bases and 20 land bases for the pro­gram. We’re hop­ing to roll it out fur­ther and have bases state wide.’’

Now an FRNSW avi­a­tion of­fi­cer, Mr Wall­gate started his ca­reer in De­niliquin, his home town, join­ing the lo­cal res­cue and fire ser­vice after fin­ish­ing high school.

In 1997, after six years work­ing in De­niliquin, he moved to Syd­ney to con­tinue his ca­reer with FRNSW.

For the past 15 years, Mr Wall­gate has been in­volved with flood res­cue in his role as an avi­a­tion of­fi­cer.

Fire & Res­cue NSW swift­wa­ter res­cue ex­perts (from left) Shan­non Crofton, James Boland and An­thony Wall­gate show off their Hig­gins and Lan­g­ley Memo­rial Award fol­low­ing the con­fer­ence in the USA. Photo cour­tesy Fire & Res­cue NSW.

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