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Parks staff prepare for bushfire call-up

Wednesday, 1st July, 2015

Instructor Matt Allan discusses safety measures with the group of NPWS staff. Instructor Matt Allan discusses safety measures with the group of NPWS staff.

By Darrin Manuel

National Parks and Wildlife Service staff are now prepared for bushfire season after undergoing winch training in chilly conditions yesterday.

Sixteen staff members from NPWS offices in Buronga, Wilcannia, Broken Hill, Tibooburra and White Cliffs spent the morning dangling under a helicopter, giving them the experience needed to be airlifted in and out of bushfire situations.

The training is part of a statewide program being run by the NPWS, which requires its staff to be prepared to drop into any emergency situation.

NPWS strategic programs officer Far Western Region, Jaymie Norris, said the State’s east was most at risk from bushfire, and staff needed to be able to respond rapidly if called upon.

“Our staff have got to have the training to allow them to be deployed anywhere in the state, and anywhere across the country if needed,” said Jaymie.

“It’s good to have that training ... and be able to support our colleagues across the state.”

Outside of gaining skills, Mr Norris said the work with the helicopter and NPWS Park Air flight operations unit gave staff a good chance to get out and experience a unique part of the job.

“They enjoy the challenge - National Parks staff enjoy being out in the fresh air, and there’s plenty of fresh air 50m up under a helicopter.”

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