A PRE-SUMMER training session for volunteer firefighters on Saturday revealed a number of areas where extra training is needed, according to one of the event’s organisers.
More than 80 volunteers from 10 central tablelands NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigades took part in the session at Kinross State Forest to improve their skills before the expected busy fire season.
RFS Canobolas Zone fire mitigation officer Geoff Selwood said firefighters took part in simulated emergency scenarios that picked up a number of deficiencies in knowledge.
“Throughout the day we found a heap of problems,” he said.
Map reading, use of foam to extinguish fires and communication via radio were some the areas that need improving, according to Mr Selwood.
“Some of these things haven’t been used for a while because we haven’t had a fire season,” he said.
Mr Selwood said it was vital volunteer firefighters’ skills were adequate to cope in the event of a bushfire.
“If they are not working properly or there’s a bit of confusion on the truck it could mean death,” he said.
“The worst-case scenario could mean the truck is over-run and burnt out.”
He said it was better to identify problems now rather than during an emergency situation.
With areas to be improved identified, volunteer firefighters can undertake extra training to ensure they are as ready as possible for bushfire season.
“It could make the difference between life and death,” Mr Selwood said.
GETTING READY FOR SUMMER: NSW Rural Fire Service North West Brigade members (back) Rob Auberson, Mel Beaumont, Mark Gray and Ian Wotton observe (front) Craig Peterson learn how to use foam to extinguish a fire by Orange Molong Road brigade member Errol Hockley. 0918rfs1
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