Fly-in safety lesson for Ocean Grove students

May 6, 2021 BY

LSV members Nick Giblin, Adam Lantz and Will Paatsch with OGPS students Max, Sullivan, Colbert, Noah, Ava and Nate. Photos: ANDY ROGERS

WHILE dressed like heroes, Ocean Grove Primary School students got to meet the real-life crew behind a record number of rescues performed on Victoria beaches this summer.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) crew flew into school on May 3 to conduct an interactive lesson in beach safety with the students.

Ocean Grove Westpac branch manager, Graeme King, said the partnership between Westpac and Life Saving Victoria has created opportunities to educate young Victorians about outdoor safety and emergency services in their community.

“In bringing the Westpac chopper to Ocean Grove Primary, our crew were able to provide important safety tips and advice on how students can avoid getting into danger at local beaches, around other waterways and stay safe during an emergency,” he said.

“It was very exciting for students, as they got the opportunity to sit inside the helicopter and see the state-of-the-art life saving equipment designed to help the crew deal with emergency situations.

“The session was very interactive as students asked the crew and pilot specific questions about flying, rescues and beach patrols.”

The helicopter service, which is based in Moorabbin and Barwon Heads, has been operating for 10 years while being tasked with patrolling the Victorian coastline as well as supporting other state emergencies and search and rescue operations year-round.

During the busy summer period the service was tasked with 130 incidents which included search and rescue missions, aerial intelligence gathering and beach patrol.

Following a total of 15 winch rescues performed during the difficult summer, WLRHS crew member Liam O’Callaghan said the opportunity to bring the service to schools was a positive step forward in teaching kids water safety.

“It’s vital that we engage children with water safety from an early age to ensure that staying safe by the water becomes second nature to them,” he said.

“By bringing the chopper to the kids and letting them explore and ask questions, we hope that it provides an exciting conversation starter, while importantly giving them an interactive way to learn about the risks and how to be safe at Victorian waterways.”

Students can also access the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Schools Program online.

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