As the official bushfire season gets underway in Queensland, 30 emergency service personnel were busy learning new skills in the Airbase Operator Course at Bundaberg Airport.
Members of Queensland Fire and Rescue, Queensland Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service hit the tarmac at Bundaberg Airport for extensive training in an Airbase Operator Course.
QFES Airbase Operator Officers Wesley Bruce and Brett McIlwaine hosted the three-day course, with participants travelling from all around the North Coast Region to learn how to support aerial firefighting operations.
During the last bushfire season QFES deployed more than 40 aircraft across the state, including a 737 Large Air Tanker from New South Wales, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter contracted from the United States and military aircraft for mapping major bushfires.
The Airbase Operator Course included how to conduct Queensland Fire and Emergency airbase operations, including how to work safely around aircraft, and basic aviation knowledge; it consisted of theoretical learning and the application of skills, ending in a practical assessment.
Course participants worked with fixed wing, and rotary wing aircraft, and how to support each during a bushfire, or other emergency.
Training for the Airbase Operator Course is held on an as-needed basis for regions when required.
“We do a training needs analysis with the regions and decide whether they require additional resources within that region, whether that be an airbase operator, air attack supervisors, or air observers and then run the appropriate training,” Brett said.
“Participants will also learn about loading people in and out of aircraft, marshalling and loading the fix-winged aircraft, the water bombing aircraft, as well.”
Brett said more people were trained in Airbase Operations this year, and he thanked those participants, including a number of volunteers, for dedicating three days to the program.
“The participants, during this Airbase Operators course, have been really keen and motivated, and willing to learn, so that makes our job a lot easier,” he said.
Participants who completed the training now have the skills necessary to operate an airbase activated in a disaster situation.