Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Training mecca in Deni

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Deniliquin has become a mecca for firefighte­rs needing to brush up their skills.

The state of the art equipment available at the NSW Rural Fire Service’s MidMurray Fire Control Centre at Deniliquin Airport has made it a popular spot for all types of training, particular­ly during COVID-19.

Normally hosting between four and five courses a year, the Mid Murray team coordinate­d the 23rd course for this year at the weekend.

Over three days, six future leaders of the Rural Fire Service were put through their paces — two from Mid Murray, two from Albury and one each from Hay and Griffith.

Mid Murray district officer Terry Campbell said while only attended by a small group, the course is important for succession planning within the organisati­on.

‘‘Group leader training is for those at the top end of the field command,’’ Mr Campbell said.

‘‘Group leaders often supervise large groups — sometimes up to 22 trucks — and it’s important we have people coming up through the ranks with those skills.’’

The course included ‘‘a lot of theory’’, but also included a full day simulation of what volunteers may experience on the fire ground.

‘‘The course covered fire behaviour, leadership and strategy, and the full day practical exercise.

‘‘It is what we call a desktop scenario, so a simulation of a township under attack (from fire).

‘‘The simulated exercise required 60 fire trucks, and there was even a scenario of a firefighte­r having a heart attack on the fire ground the leadership group had to deal with.’’

Mr Campbell said the leadership group training was traditiona­lly held in Wagga, but later moved to Dubbo.

He said the location restricts the ability of firefighte­rs to attend in Dubbo, because of the time taken away from their regular jobs and families.

And then COVID-19 created even more barriers to access.

‘‘We are starting to host a lot more of these types of courses, partly because COVID has forced brigades to look at opportunit­ies closer to home.

‘‘It is important to continue with essential training, and we are set up to provide it at Deniliquin.’’

Mr Campbell said the Deniliquin FCC’s increased use has flow on benefits to the town, through money spent on accommodat­ion for participan­ts and instructor­s.

A significan­t amount is also spent locally to provide catering during the courses.

 ?? ?? RFS volunteer Kerrie Godfrey and Inspector Kelwyn White map simulated coordinate­s during a mock incident exercise at the Deniliquin Fire Control Centre earlier this year.
RFS volunteer Kerrie Godfrey and Inspector Kelwyn White map simulated coordinate­s during a mock incident exercise at the Deniliquin Fire Control Centre earlier this year.

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