Training job well done
Mock exercise valuable opportunity for members new and old
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.
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.