Drill tests stu­dents’ fire skills

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Jenna Bishop

Sirens were blar­ing and smoke was pour­ing from one of Co­bram Sec­ondary Col­lege’s build­ings on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

It was an or­di­nary fire drill for most, but for one group of stu­dents it was about gain­ing real life emer­gency man­age­ment skills.

The sched­uled fire drill, planned in con­sul­ta­tion with Co­bram Fire Bri­gade, was also a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent and res­cue sce­nario play­ing out in real time.

The school’s Ad­vance stu­dents worked with the fire­fight­ers to gain an in­sight into an in­ci­dent re­sponse, while oth­ers were planted in class­rooms for searchers to find as stu­dents who were left be­hind in the evac­u­a­tion.

‘‘The sce­nario was de­signed to pro­vide the school and CFA with an un­known and un­con­tained in­ci­dent, to test the ef­fec­tive­ness of the school’s emer­gency re­sponse model and al­low the CFA to con­duct a re­al­is­tic res­cue, which had never been done be­fore at the school,’’ Ad­vance co-or­di­na­tor Ran­dall Jones said.

‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ence was a great learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for all in­volved, es­pe­cially the col­lege’s Year 10 Ad­vance CFA cadets, who were ac­tively in­volved, shad­ow­ing the CFA bri­gade dur­ing the re­sponse, as well as pro­vid­ing stu­dent ‘dum­mies’ hidden about the school or in­jured dur­ing the mock in­ci­dent.’’

Stu­dent Ta­mara Brock­ley said it was good to see if the school sys­tems worked.

‘‘I played an in­jured stu­dent in the fake smoke, so no-one knew if it was a drill or not, so it was more re­al­is­tic,’’ she said.

‘‘Shad­ow­ing the CFA crew to see how they man­age a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent was re­ally great — we could see what ac­tu­ally hap­pens,’’ fel­low stu­dent Paris Rich said.

Co­bram Fire Bri­gade cap­tain Adrian Hilder said it was a great learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for the Ad­vance stu­dents, as well as fire­fight­ers who were train­ing in an un­fa­mil­iar build­ing.

‘‘The crew were us­ing their search and res­cue skills, and had taken the ther­mal imag­ing cam­era in with them,’’ he said.

‘‘The breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus team worked their way through the build­ing to lo­cate any miss­ing peo­ple and bring them back out­side.

‘‘We also showed the stu­dents the pro­ce­dure to ven­ti­late a build­ing and to check if the car­bon diox­ide lev­els were safe to go in.’’

Learn­ing on the job: Ad­vance stu­dents Mitchell Hawke, Tris­tan Grin­ter, Mikayla Laws and Paris Rich lis­ten to Co­bram Fire Bri­gade cap­tain Adrian Hilder ex­plain what the fire­fight­ers were do­ing on the scene of an emer­gency.

Clear­ing the room: Co­bram Fire Bri­gade cap­tain Adrian Hilder shows the Ad­vance stu­dents how to use the ven­ti­lat­ing ma­chine.

Help on hand: Co­bram Sec­ondary Col­lege stu­dents help ‘in­jured’ fire­fighter Dave Beard from the scene.

Smoke but no flames: Ad­vance stu­dents walk through the sce­nario, cre­ated by a smoke ma­chine.

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