More than 50 State Emergency Service volunteers from the Mid West and Gascoyne headed to Kalbarri last month to participate in land and sea rescue training during the annual regional exercise program. Geraldton-Greenough SES joined other volunteer crews from across the region on September 16 and 17 to conduct a large-scale training operation hosted by Kalbarri SES. The crews were based around the Wagoe Beach area, conducting various training exercises around the coastal town. Kalbarri SES operations manager Steve Cable said Kalbarri was chosen as this year’s location because the vast landscape was conducive to creating interesting rescue scenarios. “We’ve got water, we’ve got cliffs, we got islands in the river, so it was just a good way to bring all those skills and all those resources to the ultimate delivery,” he said. Volunteers refreshed their memory of GPS use, compass navigation, 4WD vehicle recovery and radio communication before diving into realistic emergency scenarios, including land searches, injuries off the cliff face or assisting someone trapped in a gorge. The crews also conducted on water rescues across the river as part of their flood response training. Geraldton Greenough SES set up their Mid West-Gascoyne incident control vehicle and acted as the nerve centre for communication and co-ordination as teams were tasked with different scenarios along the coast. Mr Cable said the regional exercise program was a Mid West-Gascoyne initiative and had been running for about eight to 10 years. “We just keep going with it and slowly other regions are starting to pick up the mantle and follow suit,” he said. “We’ve done it on our own back but now it’s starting to gather momentum.” Mr Cable said the annual program was a phenomenal way to pull emergency service resources and skills together to facilitate smoother operations during large disasters, rather than always training in isolation. “One of the big spin-offs is getting to know other people in other units so that when we do come together to make up an operation, such as cyclone Seroja or the Kimberley floods, we all know each other,” he said.