Rescuing with the QAS

by John Robertson
At 11.55 on Sunday 30th November we got a cryptic page from Firecom SE saying that the SES wanted help with ‘manual PT’ at Thunderbird Park. The actual location of the incident was at the bottom of the waterfalls in the National Park below TB park. ‘Manual PT’ means ‘manual personnel transport’, that is to say helping to carry a stretcher. Robbo arrived in his own car closely followed by TM1 and Rory in 52. People from the SES and the Auxiliaries were there in addition to the ambos.

There were quite a number of young people swimming in the pools at the falls. A few of them had a go a climbing the rocks and had slipped. Three were injured – one seriously. Three ambulances were at the car park and the ambos were down at the falls helping the injured people. It is always a pleasure to work with ambos – they are highly competent and professional and are calm, caring and kindly with it. The badly injured person was being loaded onto a stretcher and the stretcher had to be carried up the narrow path to a point where the ambulances could reach. There was a climb of about 200 metres along about 1 km of winding path. In these circumstances a stretcher is carried by 6 people – two at the front, two at the back and two in the middle. It sounds a lot to convey just one person but on such steep slopes it is necessary. Danny Edser of the Auxiliaries was I/C the recovery process.
There were two stretcher teams of 6 and they changed over several times on the way up. The members were a mix and match of civilians, SES, and Auxiliary and Rural firies. This went well and the ambulance was reached smoothly and successfully. Top marks go to one the ambos, Lisa, who held and steadied the patient’s head all the way up and walked continuously backwards and upwards to do so. That done John, Rory and Robbo gave the ambos a hand with carrying and stowing their equipment and Rory had a go at driving one of the ambulances. We stood down at 13.30 when Rory and Robbo moved on to bit of chainsawing and timber hauling at Paul’s place.
Posted in Incident Reports