TRAINING: Warwick firefighters work on a practice car crash. CREDIT: Chris GIlchrist
TRAINING: Warwick firefighters work on a practice car crash. CREDIT: Chris GIlchrist

Looming challenge for Warwick emergency services this year

WHEN it comes to the horrific car crashes our emergency services encounter on our roads, speed and team work can be the difference between life and death.

For Warwick emergency services, gaining expertise in both has never been more important as they warn against a concerning increase in road accidents this year.

Warwick firefighters, paramedics and Killarney first responders were all in attendance at this weekend's road crash rescue training.

Organiser and Warwick Fire Station lieutenant Chris Gilchrist said the base training would ensure new firefighters across Southern Downs stations knew how to operate hydraulic equipment to rescue motorists from wrecks.

The course took emergency services through several cases, including vehicles on their side, on their roof, and T-boned.

Queensland Ambualance, firefighters and Killarney first responders help lift the dummy driver safely out of the T-boned vehicle.
Queensland Ambualance, firefighters and Killarney first responders help lift the dummy driver safely out of the T-boned vehicle.

It comes as the number of lives lost on Queensland's roads in the first six months of 2020 was 117 - an alarming 18 per cent increase from 2019 - but Mr Gilchrist said there could be a number of reasons behind the spike.

"You'll find it may be attributed to people not going overseas now for holidays. We've got the caravanners and the nomads and people like that travelling internally," he said.

"This time last year was pretty dry so that's also an attributing factor.

"If you get long dry spells and then a bit of rain, all the oils come up from the road so that's another hazard, driving on that film of oil."

Taking mind of conditions was something Warwick ambulance leader Cameron Butt could attest to.

"Slow down," he said.

"We're coming into storm season with wet roads, so drive to the conditions. And with the holiday season approaching, there'll soon be more people on the roads."

While the training was vital to teaching safe rescues, after 31 years on the job, Mr Gilchrist said nothing could prepare teams for the reality.

"At a real job, the adrenaline is in there, you can't simulate that. People's lives do hang in the balance, so there's another thing we can't simulate with our dummies," he said.

"There's a matter of urgency trying to get them out so we need to know we've got qualified, well-trained personnel in the truck when we arrive on scene."

 

Clearing the scene of glass is one of the most vital parts of a rescue for Warwick firefighters.
Clearing the scene of glass is one of the most vital parts of a rescue for Warwick firefighters.

 

Killarney first responder Trish Wagner-Ross said joining with other services on the day only helped further the volunteer base's support of the community.

"It's very rewarding," she said.

"The jobs can range from asthma attacks to cardiac arrest and like today, RTCs (Road traffic crashes) which because we're in Killarney is in a lot different terrain." 



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