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55 Members of nine north coast SES rescue units participated in a Road Crash Rescue professional development workshop last weekend at South Grafton where they were trained in the latest techniques and using new equipment in real life rescue scenarios. Image: Grafton SES

SES skilled in road crash rescues

Rodney Stevens


SES volunteers from across the north coast have been educated in cutting edge techniques using the latest equipment to save the lives of people in road crash rescue incidents at last weekend’s training course at South Grafton.

SES Local Commander Upper Clarence, Mark Sekulic said 55 SES members from nine local road crash rescue units, Ballina, Lismore, Maclean, Yamba, Coffs Harbour, Urunga, Dorrigo, Woodburn, and Grafton, participated in the two-day professional development Road Crash Rescue training course held at Campbell Spares.

Commander Sekulic said all training scenarios were real life simulations using SES issued equipment for road crash rescues including the “jaws of life” and spreaders, which in recent times had switched from hydraulic powered to now battery powered tools.

“The two-day course was tailored around road crash rescue training and the scenarios they were given were taken from documented vehicle accidents,” he said.

“We had a car on a roof that had a tree fallen on it, there was a car in a ditch near a creek, we were kindly leant a 50 tonne crane from Wicks and Parker which was involved in a simulated override where a car had gone under the crane, and we had another simulation where a car has hit a tree and another car has come from behind and pushed it further up the tree.

“In each scenario, once the rescue dummy was retrieved from each vehicle it was treated by members and triaged for medical treatment if required.”

Commander Sekulic said the training was specifically tailored for SES members who are trained as Road Crash Operators, to increase their skills and techniques in real life rescue scenarios and bring them up to date with new equipment and procedures used in modern vehicles.

He said the weekend’s rain just added to the realism of the rescue simulations.

Part of the training weekend focused on rescues from electric cars, Commander Sekulic said, with new procedures and equipment used due to the different components and structure used in those vehicles.

“Adding to the complexities of the modern technology they are using in vehicles now, things like boron steel and the safety cells that are incorporated in all cars, it’s not a matter of rip, tear, bust, to get a person out,” he said.

“Sometimes that never works on a newer vehicle, so there were ways that they were shown where you have to approach it in a totally different manner, and the biggest problem we are facing now is with E-cars (electric) and with the lithium batteries involved, if you cut a wrong wire it ends up being a bigger problem than it should have been.”