Paramedics and a Fire and Rescue NSW officer treating dummy patients in a road crash training exercise near Queanbeyan on 18 November 2022.
An initiative to upskill Paramedic Interns at Queanbeyan has grown into a successful Multi-Agency Training Exercise – MATE, for short. There are now plans for future multi-agency collaborations.

Queanbeyan Paramedic David Davie knows what it means to have a good MATE. The Queanbeyan MATE – Multi-Agency Training Exercise – held off Kings Highway between Queanbeyan and Bungendore on 18 November 2022 was David’s brainchild.

“My intention was to hold a training exercise so our three P1Ts (Paramedic Interns) at Queanbeyan could get some practice in road rescue scenarios before their in-service early next year,” David explained.

“So I reached out to our local colleagues at Fire + Rescue NSW – and things snowballed from there. In the end we had five Ambulance crews, two Fire + Rescue NSW units, NSW Police, and the Local Emergency Management Committee from Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council all actively involved. It took about three months to coordinate, going backwards and forwards to coordinate all the resources.”

Fire + Rescue NSW provided the car bodies for the exercise, and Monaro Police District supplied three Police Sergeants. More paramedics also came on board, including intensive care paramedics, extended care paramedics, the acting station officer, and another P1T from Moruya. Two Chaplains and two university students studying paramedicine took part too.

The local theatrical group, the Queanbeyan Players, even got in on the act by providing patients in moulage (injury make-up), complete with scripted trauma behaviours. The Rural Fire Service also provided actors as trapped patients for the day.

Paramedic Interns treating dummy patients at the Queanbeyan Multi Agency Training Exercise on 18 November 2022Fire and Rescue NSW officer treating dummy patients in a road crash training exercise near Queanbeyan on 18 November 2022.
Paramedic Interns assess a dummy patient after extrication from a vehicle, watched on by a site supervisor

The scenario for Queanbeyan MATE was a complicated three-car motor vehicle accident. One car had rolled onto its roof and another had crashed into a tree. A third car had swerved to avoid the accident scene and caused a fatality.

When paramedics arrived, several patients were trapped in vehicles requiring extrication. One of the patients was heavy and needed to be taken out from the rear of the car. What wasn’t immediately obvious was that another patient had been ejected 10 metres from the crash scene and was lying unconscious in the grass.

“The conditions of different patients deteriorated and improved throughout the scenario. It was a testing scenario that went for a total of three hours,” David Davie said.

“We had observers for each scene and during that time our P1Ts all had the opportunity to advocate for their patients and communicate with other responders in a major trauma setting. At the end we had a hot debrief at the scene. All the P1Ts involved said that they got something out of the exercise.”

“I’m very grateful to my local Emergency Service colleagues for their help in pulling off this exercise, and to Paramedic Ali Condon who gave me a lot of help with the arrangements. It was a mammoth job getting everyone together and we did it all with local staff. All involved did so on their days off,” David said.

There is already the prospect of future MATEs. David is talking to Fire + Rescue NSW about a hazmat scenario training exercise early in 2023. Let the MATE-ship continue.