Northern Territory Emergency Services (NTES) Area Manager, Seth Dugdell successfully organised and ran a Vertical Rescue (VR) Course for the Northern Region over three weekends in June/July to boost the Vertical Rescue capability of NTES in the Northern Region.
Ten volunteers from Units in Katherine, Palmerston and Darwin attended the training, which gave them experience in performing the roles of First Response, Edge Management and Escort as well as setting up the recovery systems to perform a rescue at a cliff face.
The first weekend was conducted in Darwin where the basics of knot tying, anchoring, VR equipment and team roles were covered both in theory and practice. Much of this weekend was also set aside to perform basic abseiling and test the volunteers’ rope mobility, stamina and skills.
The second weekend was conducted in Katherine and covered stretchers and recovery systems, including; the arachnipod, anchoring and hauling. The highlight was being able to put the learning together in a couple of scenarios conducted at the Katherine Gorge.
The final weekend began with the team performing a night scenario above Doctor’s Gully with the assistance of other Darwin volunteers who provided lighting for the activity. On Sunday the team set up at East Point while the Half Marathon jogged past on the bike path.
The weekend activities consolidated much of the learning and highlighted future training needs. The value of this practice and experience is immense and greatly appreciated by the volunteers who would like to extend a big ‘thank you’ to Seth Dugdell, Mark Fishlock and Ian Smith whose experience, expertise and guidance were invaluable throughout the course. We would also like to thank the Rangers at Katherine Gorge for allowing us to train in the gorge.