Local rescuer brings back global knowledge

August 4, 2022 BY

Dedicated: Bannockburn Unit Controller Blake Shawcross has been with the SES for five years. Photo: MICHAEL CHAMBERS

OVER four days in late July, Bannockburn SES Unit Controller Blake Shawcross took part in the annual Australasian Road Rescue Challenge in Tamworth, New South Wales.

The trip included training sessions and presentations and was followed by three competitive trials as part of a team of five from Barwon South SES, that saw the local crew test their skills and abilities against others from across Australia and New Zealand.

Although each team was only required for one half-hour challenge each day, Mr Shawcross said he was eager to get as much as he could from the opportunity.

“You learn so much from watching the other teams because different skills and even the same skills around the country are taught differently,” he said.

“I’ve never had scenarios set up for us within training like they do there. They bring in big concrete bollards, they bring in proper trees, they put cars on top of other cars and run them under trucks.”

“The three challenges were entrapped, time critical, and controlled. Different events that showcase different skills you need to gain points on in the competition.”

Working as a tech operator in his team Mr Shawcross and his crew placed seventh overall out of 16 squads.

Optional trauma and CPR challenges were also available, which he said he undertook them alongside attending workshops his downtime.

Mr Shawcross said a highlight for him was having access to the latest road rescue equipment like mini cutters and a battery-powered spreaders known as the jaws of life.

With workshops already being planned, he said he’s excited to bring back what he’s learned to the region’s emergency services volunteers.

“The questions keep flowing from the team here. I did an electrical vehicle fire safety seminar recently and everyone wanted to see photos, and learn because it is the elite of what we do,” he said.

“I’m training some road crash rescue stuff with Inverleigh fire brigade. It’s not just within the SES, we encourage the CFA to train with us so we can help each during accidents.

“You go to a competition expecting everyone to be all stand-off but everyone’s happy to talk and share their experience. We really work as one, and it’s all about community safety.”