Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Ai­den Boy­ham

You may have seen the State Emer­gency Ser­vice mounted sec­tion pa­trolling the streets of Shoal­wa­ter and Bal­divis on Oc­to­ber 28, but all was not as it seemed.

While it may have ap­peared the team was deep into a search and res­cue op­er­a­tion, the SES mounted sec­tion was in fact con­duct­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise.

As part of the Statewide Op­er­a­tional Re­sponse Di­vi­sion, or SWORD, of the Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices, the unit trains twice monthly. The most re­cent ex­er­cise had mem­bers be­gin their search near the Safety Bay Bowl­ing Club.

SES mounted sec­tion unit man­ager Natalie Beard said the ex­er­cise in­volved the unit also head­ing to bush­land off Eighty Road in Bal- di­vis, where they suc­cess­fully found their “miss­ing per­son”.

“We set up a real-life sce­nario and try to make it as re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble,” Ms Beard said. “In this case we were search­ing for a 14year-old boy who had run away from home.”

Four­teen horse rid­ers and six ground crew took part in the search, which in­volved prac­tis­ing nav­i­ga­tion and search tech­niques.

Ms Beard said the train­ing ex­er­cises had a big im­pact when it came to real-life sit­u­a­tions.

“It def­i­nitely boosts our ca­pa­bil­ity,” she said.

“It gives our mem­bers the con­fi­dence that when they are in that big sce­nario they know what they are do­ing.

“It also teaches our horses in those sit­u­a­tions what’s re­ally go­ing on and what has to be done.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the SES mounted sec­tion, fol­low the unit on Face­book.

It (train­ing ex­er­cises) def­i­nitely boosts our ca­pa­bil­ity. Natalie Beard

Picture: Si­mone Munck­ton

SES vol­un­teers Krys­tal Jose, back left, Jean Jensen, back right, Ch­eryl Hors­ley, front left, and unit man­ager Natalie Beard, front right, ride through Shoal­wa­ter dur­ing the ex­er­cise.

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