Former Deni man’s flood rescue honour
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.