Specialist NSW State Emergency Teams (NSW SES) from across the state have put their skills to the test at the Road Crash Rescue Challenge in Coffs Harbour at the weekend.

The challenge was held over three days from May 5 to 7, putting teams through their paces with hands on challenges simulating road crash rescues, and giving them an opportunity to learn new techniques from their counterparts.

Eight NSW SES teams attended a symposium on Friday, before completing in several challenges over two days to test their skills against teams from Fire Rescue NSW, VRA Rescue, and the Country Fire Authority Victoria.

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said the event was vital for volunteers to test their capabilities and skills alongside other road crash response agencies.

“Events like this enhance our inter-agency cross training and working relationships, and it’s these activities that not only grows skills, but also give the participants a chance to see how they’re going through peer review,” Commissioner York said.

“The scenarios our Road Crash Rescue operators were exposed to during the challenge replicated real life accidents that responders are called to, including very realistic injuries and entrapments that are hard to simulate in regular activities.”

NSW SES Kiama team member Appo Skorulis said six team members from the unit hoped their new road crash rescue skills would continue to improve their response times.

“I hope that if it’s someone I know in a car accident, we can save five minutes getting them out of the car because of the practice we’ve done and the techniques we’ve learnt at challenges like this. It’s those first five minutes that really matter,” Mr Skorulis said.

“You’re under time pressure in the challenges, which you should be, but the judges are fantastic with their feedback.”

Mr Skorulis said the biggest prize was going to be putting new skills learnt at the challenge into practice on his next emergency response call out.

“The scenarios are based on real car accidents, and the extent of the injuries of people in the cars are similar to what’s experienced in real life so it’s a fantastic learning opportunity for us,” he said.

“In one scenario we had a car on its wheels over a powerline, against an edge and another pole with two patients trapped and we had to release them. You can’t simulate that in regular training.”

NSW SES Teams included:

Batemans Bay SES Unit

Coffs Harbour SES Unit

Coonamble SES Unit

Gilgandra SES Unit

Hawkesbury SES Unit

Kiama SES Unit

Port Macquarie SES Unit

Port Stephens SES Unit (Hunter Valley Rescue Team)

/Public Release. View in full here.