November 14, 2019
A catastrophic “explosion and fire” at a business in Youngman Street, Kingaroy, on a recent Sunday morning had fire, ambulance and SES crews scrambling.
When it was discovered one of the accident “victims” was pinned under a forklift, a triage team from Kingaroy Hospital had to be called in to perform an emergency amputation.
Workers and bystanders – many horribly burned, others clearly traumatised – were removed from the scene for attention by ambulance personnel as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, firefighters braved billowing smoke to find the source of the blaze and put it out, while SES volunteers helped clear the scene so Kingaroy Hospital’s medical team could carry out their delicate in-field surgery uninterrupted.
In the end, no lives were lost, no limbs amputated and the “victims” of the disaster suffered no lasting injuries.
In fact, they went on to enjoy Sunday lunch with their families, followed by an afternoon spent doing whatever took their fancy.
This was because the “accident” was just a joint training exercise organised by local emergency services crews to practice their drills.
It is one of several that are run regularly between the region’s first responder groups to ensure all the different services work together as seamlessly as possible at the sites of real emergencies.
The “victims” – many of them members of Kingaroy’s Local Ambulance Committee – had spent several hours that morning at Kingaroy Ambulance Station being painted up with realistic-looking “injuries” before being deposited at the scene.
Northern Agriservices allowed their workplace to be used as the venue so the drill could take place in a realistic environment.
During the exercise, QAS, QFES, SES and Kingaroy Hospital team leaders took careful notes of everything their teams did to ensure proper procedures were followed.
They also carefully noted anything that might have been missed for future reinforcement drills.
Kingaroy Ambulance officer-in-charge Travis Cramb said exercises like these were valuable training for both professional and volunteer first responders – not only to reinforce proper procedures, but also to learn how to work with other teams in complex situations.
The local exercise was the last for Travis, though – he is now moving to an administrative post with the QAS in Toowoomba after four years’ service at Kingaroy’s ambulance station.