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RAAF Base Amberley firefighters joined forces with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to try out new equipment and procedures for chemical spills.

Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley firefighters from No. 23 Squadron donned various hazmat (hazardous materials) suits and breathing kits to run through Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ (QFES) portable decontamination trailer on June 18.

Both teams worked with No. 295 Squadron and medical staff from Health Operational Conversion Unit to understand the new equipment and procedures to ensure both services can work seamlessly together if the need arises.

Key areas of the training included the fitting of appropriate personal protective equipment, product identification, chemical containment and clean-up, education on the use of testing kits and detectors, casualty removal, medical requirements and set-up and use of the trailer.

Firefighters from No. 23 Squadron also acted as contaminated civilians to rehearse the process from rescue to release.

Acting Inspector and Ipswich Area Commander QFES Jed Crosby said it was important for both organisations to understand new advances in science and technology and the role each would play in the event of an emergency on base. 

“The purpose of the exercise is to assess and test Air Force and Fire and Rescue capability to deal with and combat different and challenging hazmat incidents,” Mr Crosby said.

“It’s critical we identify appropriate procedures so when an incident does happen, we can combat it safely and efficiently together.”

Firefighter Manager at No. 23 Squadron Flight Sergeant Darren Evans said joint exercises such as this provided significant upgrades and insights for Air Force’s firefighting capability. 

“It’s invaluable to interact with and learn from the QFES,” Flight Sergeant Evans said.

“The best part of the training is for our team to have a greater general awareness and understanding to prepare for all kinds of emergencies.”

Royal Australian Air Force firefighter, aircraftman Matthew Anderdson from No. 23 Squadron (left) and a member of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Services team up in their Fully Encapsulated Suit with a Haz-Shield Recovery Capsule for a decontamination exercise during the joint Hazmat training.

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