Paramedics taking part in the 4WD training course last month

A group of paramedics have taken part in a course at the Gilgandra Ambulance Training Unit which gave them an introduction to the safe use of four-wheel drive vehicles.

Last month 10 Western Sector Paramedics had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a 4WD ambulance vehicle, while being tasked to navigate their way out of a river bed, as part of a simulation to rescue patients from a crashed aircraft.

That being said, it’s no surprise this 4WD safe training exercise has a waiting list, such is its popularity among


Run by the Gilgandra Ambulance Training Unit, the twoday workshop is an introduction to the safe use of 4WD.

“It’s about taking a novice-level 4WD operator and introducing them to the capability of the vehicle, which includes how to operate it safely,” course coordinator Geoff Kiehne said.

“If they are ever driving these vehicles and get themselves into difficulty, this course shows them how to recover the vehicle in a manner which is safe.”

Geoff said the course begins by firstly educating paramedics on the “anatomy and physiology” of the 4WD vehicles.

Paramedics taking part in the 4WD training course last month

They are then taught about the importance of having an assisting paramedic stand outside of the vehicle and using hand signals to direct the driver when in challenging, rough terrain.

This is then followed by participants being required to reverse around an obstacle course set amongst a group of trees.

They then learn about how to safely winch a vehicle from a bog.

A big part of the training is also how to recover the vehicle, should the terrain cause it to get bogged down.

“We expect people in the course will get bogged down, so we then go through the recovery process as required,” Geoff said.

“We also look at how to change a flat tyre on unstable terrain (such as sand); and also teach them stall recovery, which can be very difficult to do if you’re going up an incline and the vehicle stalls.”

Finally, participants take part in the river bed course, which requires them to drive two kilometres to the crash site, before returning and navigating their way out of the river bed - a challenging task, given the risk of being bogged down is high.

“We don’t have any problems getting people on the course, they all look forward to it,” he said.

Geoff said all P1s are eligible to be considered for the course.