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Virtual collision emergency

Friday, 7th September, 2018

Biosecurity Officers Brooke Anderson and Grant Davis of the Western Local Land Service. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Biosecurity Officers Brooke Anderson and Grant Davis of the Western Local Land Service. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Biosecurity officers at the Western Local Land Service are among many to have benefited from an emergency training exercise in the city last week involving hundreds of virtual sheep.

A desktop exercise in dealing with a stock truck collision brought together landholders and personnel from the land service, Department of Primary Industries, Police, State Emergency Service, Fire and Rescue and the ambulance zone. 

Senior Officer of the Western Local Land Service, Grant Davis, said the exercise was ‘very valuable.’ 

“In the heat of the moment when an actual emergency operation happens, if you’ve got a bit of this training behind you, you’ll pull what you’ve learnt to assist you in providing the best possible outcome.”

Of particular importance to the Biosecurity officers was how they would deal with livestock in such an emergency.

“We’re an agency that responds with anything to do with animal health, stock, disease, or anything like that. We were there purely for the animals,” said Mr Davis.

The scenario was that there were 300 woolly lambs and 200 Webers on the back of a truck, so there was a lot of money in the stock.

“So ourselves and a vet would go out, and if there were injured animals we’d assess them and see whether they needed to be put down. We’d also separate the wandering stock and contact the owner.

“Our role was to identify where the stock were from, contact that landholder and let them know exactly what’s happened, and then humanely destroy any injured stock that were too far gone and save as many as we could.”

For Brooke Anderson, an officer with the Western Local land Service, the exercise helped show how effective the emergency services were as a collective.

“It was really informative, especially for someone with limited experience. It was valuable in seeing what all the other agencies can do to be of assistance too,” she said.

“It shows the capacities of everybody and how much they’re putting into it. We’ll happily jump up at 10 o’clock and go and do something, and so were they.”

A similar exercise was run last year, with help from students at the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) playing crash victims. 

Named ‘Vas Onero’, the collision exercise took place between Milparinka and Packsaddle, and Mr Davis was there as well. 

“The more that you can pick up at each different  exercise, it’s just going to better prepare you for  the real-life situation because it does get very heated in those situations mentally and physically,” he said. 

“It’s not as if you can just go and clean up an accident in a short amount of time. You can see some bad things.”

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