As many of you will know, training for something doesn’t always replicate what happens in real-life.

But, given the recent wet and wild weather, participants of the combined Rescue Course 88/Special

Operations Team (SOT) Course 11 experienced the perfect conditions for what they may encounter while on a job.

The combined course ran for 10 weeks (two weeks longer than it usually would, given it was impacted by

COVID-19), with students completing competencies in road crash rescue, vertical rescue, bushcraft, navigation and other skill sets.

All of the students who took part in the course graduated last month, with six of them going to Singleton Rescue, one to Cowra Rescue and three to fill the new Lithgow SOT roster.

Rescue units are located in Rutherford, Singleton, Tamworth, Cowra, Bomaderry and Wagga Wagga.

Rescue operator-qualified paramedics provide technical rescue services in their respective areas of responsibility around the state. These skills include road crash rescue, vertical rescue, land search and rescue, tactical medicine, swiftwater operations and large animal rescue.

“Essentially the conditions couldn’t have been any worse for them, but that made the course and the training more realistic,” A/Rescue Instructor Andrew Crew said.

“We do try and make all of our training and courses as realistic as possible, whereby we can still control it, to expose them to a real-life scenario. The poor weather was a bonus and every one of those students stepped up and performed exceedingly well in proving their worth in those tough circumstances.”

This particular course saw the students participate in swiftwater awareness at Tumut, abseiling off the floodlights at the Sydney Cricket Ground and cliffs at Wahroonga, and road crash rescue training at Eastern

Creek Speedway.

Andrew said it was particularly significant to now have a dedicated SOT capability at Lithgow on the back

of this course.

“For larger events, this gives us more access to remote parts of the state in a faster timeframe,” he said.