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.

Personnel from both teams worked with No. 295 Squadron and medical staff from Health Operational Conversion Unit to understand the new equipment and procedures to ensure continued interoperability in the region.

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.

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

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.”