Train­ing job well done

Mock ex­er­cise valu­able op­por­tu­nity for mem­bers new and old

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANDREW ROBINSON TC ME­DIA editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Fire­fight­ers, search and res­cue vol­un­teers, po­lice and paramedics worked to­gether in Ar­gen­tia re­cently for a mock search-and-res­cue ex­er­cise. Ac­cord­ing to an Avalon North Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue mem­ber, it was a great op­por­tu­nity to as­sess what th­ese groups have to of­fer each other in the event of a real emer­gency.

There was a seem­ingly tense scene to wit­ness in Ar­gen­tia ear­lier this month.

Avalon North Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue vol­un­teers were comb­ing the woods look­ing for bags of co­caine while a lo­cal RCMP of­fi­cer at­tempted to track down a sus­pect. The drugs were scat­tered fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent that left one per­son trapped in­side a ve­hi­cle.

Mem­bers of the Pla­cen­tia Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment used the Jaws of Life to ex­tract the per­son left in­side the ve­hi­cle.

Truth be told, none of this was re­ally hap­pen­ing. The fire­fight­ers, po­lice and vol­un­teer res­cuers were all there, but only to test their met­tle in a train­ing ex­er­cise.

“It was good to see how the com­mu­ni­ca­tion works be­tween the dif­fer­ent groups,” said Joe Cleary, a vol­un­teer with the Wolver­ines for al­most 21 years. He’s now the group’s sec­re­tary and was re­spon­si­ble for draw­ing up the train­ing sce­nar­ios.

Over 40 peo­ple took part Nov. 6, with paramedics from Power’s Am­bu­lance Ser­vice also on hand to of­fer med­i­cal as­sis­tance. Five Star Tow­ing do­nated a ve­hi­cle for the ex­trac­tion of the in­jured per­son.

Cleary said this sort of ex­er­cise in the Pla­cen­tia area is be­com­ing an an­nual event. A sim­i­lar gath­er­ing took place last year in Ar­gen­tia, though it didn’t in­volve the fire de­part­ment or po­lice.

“This was one of the main points too when we set this up — to see the re­sources of the fire de­part­ment, see what the am­bu­lance had and see what the RCMP had, and they see what we had so we can all pull to­gether,” said Cleary. “The way things are go­ing now with the government cut­backs and ev­ery­thing, re­sources are get­ting hard to come by.”

Half­way through the train­ing sce­nario, a new prob­lem arose. A mock hunt­ing ac­ci­dent was re­ported, with the vic­tim hav­ing ac­ci­den­tally shot him­self in the stom­ach. No lo­ca­tion was pro­vided, so RCMP re­lied on a cell­phone ping to find the in­jured man.

As they were treat­ing him, yet another chal­lenge awaited the res­cuers. That man’s friend had an ac­ci­dent on his ATV, leav­ing him trapped un­der­neath the ve­hi­cle. Once they found him, mem­bers of the fire de­part­ment used air bags to raise the ATV and re­move the man.

“Over­all, it was a great day,” said Cleary.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing up at 1:30 p.m., ev­ery­one in­volved took part in a de­brief­ing ses­sion be­fore join­ing the fire de­part­ment’s ladies aux­il­iary for a turkey din­ner.

Avalon North Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue’s ter­ri­tory spans Marys­vale all the way up to Bay de Verde, and as far west as Chance Cove be­fore com­ing down all the way to Branch. The vol­un­teer group of 45 would like to get some train­ing time in with as many fire de­part­ments from the com­mu­ni­ties it serves as pos­si­ble, ac­cord­ing to Cleary.

Pla­cen­tia Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment, Avalon North Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue, Pla­cen­tia RCMP and Power’s Am­bu­lance Ser­vice worked to­gether for the mock ex­er­cise.

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

Res­cuers tend to an in­jured ac­ci­dent vic­tim in a train­ing ex­er­cise ear­lier this month in Ar­gen­tia.

Power’s Am­bu­lance Ser­vice was on hand for the mock ex­er­cise in Ar­gen­tia to of­fer as­sis­tance with a stretcher.

Res­cuers carry a stretcher through the woods in Ar­gen­tia.

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