A missing helicopter, a stranded minibus and a vehicle in a dam all formed part of a large-scale emergency exercise in the state’s south west.
Emergency Exercise Buckingbong II, held across Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September (2019), spanned 18 local government areas across the Murray and Riverina regions and involved more than 50 staff from local emergency service organisations.
The exercise was led by NSW Police Force and attended by NSW Ambulance, Fire and Rescue NSW, Salvation Army Emergency Services, NSW State Emergency Service, Volunteer Rescue Association, NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Public Health.
The two-day event was held in the Buckingbong State Forest, about 25km south of Narrandera, with many of the participants camping under the stars for the duration of the exercise.
The exercise was designed to give local emergency service organisations the opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled environment, with a focus on navigation, search and rescue operations and complex operational scenarios.
Participants were split into several groups and rotated through exercises simultaneously, utilising the ‘Simplex’ emergency services liaison network to work through scenarios as a multi-agency team. The exercise scenarios included navigational exercises, several land searches for missing persons, a search for a missing helicopter, a lost and stranded minibus and a vehicle in a dam.
Riverina Police District Commander, Superintendent Bob Noble said the exercise provided a great opportunity for emergency services to work together.
“We need to make sure that when it comes to a real-life scenario, our local emergency services have the ability to work together and get the job done,” Supt Noble said.
“The series of scenarios we used across the weekend gave us the opportunity to rehearse things that could happen in real life, like a helicopter going down in one of our forests or a vehicle going into a dam.
“Across the two days our volunteer rescue organisations and local emergency services proved they have the skillset and knowledge to work together and ultimately save lives.”
An after action review of the exercise will be conducted in the coming months.