Portland Mock Plane Disaster Activity

Adrian Luscombe, Dr Jeff Hitchman, Gaynor Denboer, Claire Holt, Monica Treloar, Laura Tagell, (Front row) Ellie Lane and Bruce Caslake.
Bruce getting a lift.
Monica Treloar (back), a polish tourist and a registered nurse. Ellie Lane, one of special volunteers.
Claire Holt, The Pilot (deceased) also a Health Information Manager
Friday, 21 November 2014
Portland District Health staff and friends acted as simulated patients for the mock plane crash disaster that happened out at the Portland Airport on Tuesday, 18 November.

It was a collaborative exercise with more than 30 personnel from the SES, CFA, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police, Sharp airlines and Airport staff who were all involved at the site. The Portland District Health Emergency Department also swung into action as part of the exercise receiving the 'injured' patients at the hospital.

The ability of emergency services to handle a major disaster at Portland Airport came through with flying colours on Tuesday night.

More than 30 personnel from Victoria police, the Country Fire Authority, Ambulance Victoria, State Emergency Service, the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health, the Glenelg Shire Council and Sharp Airlines were involved in the mock disaster.

Operational field exercise Fire Flight brought together emergency, medical and local government services to test their ability to deal with a major disaster at the airport.

The excercise was based on a plane crash and fire with eight victims, two who died at the scene and six others suffering varying degrees of injury.

Exercise co-ordinator Paul McFarlane from Mount Gambier Airport praised the efforts of all involved saying it was an invaluable training exercise.

Greater Green Triangle clinical educator based at Portland District Health, Lauren Newman, said the exercise was an important co-ordinated activity.  "All services need to plan for potential emergency situation resulting in one or more casualties," she said.  Ms Newman said that using simulated patients in the disaster scenario helped all parties to prepare for the real thing. 

"It happens in a controlled environment so it is a non-threatening but valuable learning experience.  All the agencies are able to reflect and learn following the event and implement quality changes for future preparation and practice."

Glenelg Shire Mayor, Robert Halliday, said it was a requirement of Portland Airport, under Civil Aviation Safety Austhority standards, that the airport emergency plans are practised annually.  "The exercise enables emergency agencies to action all aspects of the airport's emergency plan," he said.  Cr Halliday said it was satisfying to know the Glenelg Shire community was in good hands.

"Feedback I have received was that everyone did a very impressive job of responding to Portland Airport's major exercise."

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