The Glenhaven, Rouse Hill and Kellyville Rural Fire Brigades recently teamed up to test their skills at a simulated “house fire” at Living Choice Glenhaven. The exercise was also a valuable training exercise for the village’s fire wardens, who guided the fire trucks to the location of the “fire”.
Pablo Anwandter of the Glenhaven Rural Fire Brigade said in the eight years that he had been with the brigade, the volunteers had done an exercise at Living Choice Glenhaven every year, except in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Living Choice’s ongoing support, in making homes available for us to train in, is invaluable. Our members benefited greatly from the experience and it provided a valuable opportunity to recertify our Breathing Apparatus Operators.
“In previous years, we have also used the Community Centre to stage some scenarios. This training provides us with realistic situations that we, as first responders, may encounter should a major emergency occur,” he said.
Resident Tom Chapman, one of the village’s Chief Fire Wardens, said the training exercise had been a great learning opportunity for both the RFS and the village’s fire wardens. “There are 50 fire wardens at the village. “That may sound like a lot of wardens, but it only works out to be approximately two for each street in the village,” he said.
“Our involvement in the exercise was firstly a practice in directing RFS vehicles to where the supposed incident was happening and secondly, to observe what to expect in a real emergency.
“As there is more than one entrance to the village, we found out with earlier exercises that emergency vehicles were taking a lot of time working out where to go. We have consequently purchased helmets, traffic wands and hand-held radios so that in the future we can direct them straight to any incident. We have also purchased thermal reflective jackets to use during inclement weather.
“The residents have also purchased a small generator, portable lights, torches, head lamps, backpacks etc. for use by the wardens in an emergency. If we experience a prolonged blackout during an incident the lighting can be used to light up the auditorium, power a computer or charge mobile phones.”
Tom said that with the introduction of Broadband, landline phones could no longer be used without power. “Emergency lighting and Tunstall phones only have a limited power reserve so without mobile phones we would no longer have communications with emergency services.”
Tom said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the wardens had kept in regular contact with residents and had also kept management informed of any problems.