Scenarios boost first responder skills

August 4, 2022 BY

Training: Heathcote SES volunteers Darren O'Connor and Ali Sarisandal participated in a trauma care workshop hosted by CareFlight on Sunday. Photo: STEVE WOMERSLEY

REGIONAL volunteer fire and rescue services got the chance to develop their skills over the weekend, with emergency and retrieval aeromedical service CareFlight offering free trauma care workshops.

Held at the Huntly CFA training grounds, participants worked through several real-life scenarios using CareFlight’s realistic simulation equipment.

For Heathcote SES volunteer Darren O’Connor, the workshop was an opportunity to build on the unit’s regular first aid training, learning techniques normally used by career paramedics.

“In our last few jobs, we’ve had radio reports with the ambos saying they could be 90 minutes away so all of a sudden we’re going to be first responders,” he said.

“While we do our basic first aid course, to do something extra on top of that, to come out here and do scenarios is a lot more advanced.”

Trauma care training was provided free of charge for volunteer fire and rescue organisations.

Techniques such as pelvic wraps and jaw thrusts were a big focus for Mr O’Connor, and participants were also taken through scenarios involving catastrophic bleeding, casualties wearing helmets, and infant care.

“I’m thinking we can take this back to the unit, go through those things maybe a week after first aid training so we can build on our first aid and go to the next level,” he said.

“We’re happy to come out and increase our skills. Hopefully we don’t have to use them but if we are called upon, we can maybe make a difference in someone’s life.”

According to CareFlight head of operations education and training Lara Neilsen, often the first people to arrive at the scene of a serious incident are local community members.

“The first few minutes after an accident can mean the difference between life and death for the patient,” she said.

“First responders do an incredible job for their community and can be called and at the scene of an accident before additional medical help arrives.

“Through our partnership with local organisations, health services and emergency services, we are reinforcing the links in the chain of survival by ensuring that a higher level of care is available as soon as an incident occurs.”

CareFlight’s training is funded through community donations and government grants like the Federal  Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.