Fire Fighters Ready For All Contingencies
In a first for the New Zealand Defence Force a group of twelve Base Ohakea fire fighters have extended their expertise, and the base’s capacity to help out in civil defence emergencies, by gaining the new civil defence industry qualifications. They each receive a Local Government Industry Training Organisation Certificate of Emergency Preparedness at a ceremony in July at Palmerston North’s Emergency Management Academy of New Zealand (EMANZ).
OH 07-0390-01-tn.jpg: Air, Fire Rescue, Ohakea, People: Recipients of EMANZ LGITO emergency preparedness qualification. From left SGT Pete Healy, CPL Org Grocott, LAC Sam Hutton, SGT Nigel Dickson, SGT Shaun Murphy, CPL James Bulford.
Fire safety trainer SGT Peter Healy says the new qualifications bring the first NZDF personnel up to the skill level of professional civilian fire fighters and represent a huge benefit to the base and the surrounding community.
‘An Air Force fire fighter with these skills is very useful to the community when it comes to real emergencies such as the 2004 floods, earthquakes or other civil defence issues,’ he said.
Previously Air Force fire fighter’s expertise was limited to crash and general fire fighting. With their new expertise and qualifications the group can now be called upon to react to all situations including swift water, rope rescues and mass casualty triage.
The Linton-based Emergency Management Academy programme saw the twelve fire fighters immersed in over 1800 hours of intensive study and practical exercises over a sixteen month period.
OH 07-0390-02-tn.jpg: Air, Fire Rescue, Ohakea, People: EMANZ CEO Steve Glassey and Training NCO Sgt Pete Healy with Recipients of EMANZ LGITO emergency preparedness qualification. In rear from left - LAC Sam Hutton, CPL James Bulford, CPL Org Grocott, SGT Shaun Murphy, SGT Nigel Dickson.
CPL Aaron Grocott said the training was intensive, exhausting and difficult to manage on top of his normal duties but well worth the effort in the long run. ‘There was a lot of practical work and also a lot of book work that focussed on stress and incident management. Now we have the ability to integrate with other units without them worrying about us getting in the way or injuring ourselves.’
In a recent development EMANZ is training a team of Base Woodbourne executive staff in Co-ordinated Incident Management techniques. Watch this space!
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