Emergency services training exercise


CFA has led a multi-agency exercise to test and strengthen how emergency services respond to mass casualty incidents similar to the 2023 Eynesbury bus incident.

The exercise was a large undertaking with 90 first responders from CFA, SES, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police and St Johns Ambulance taking part as well as 27 students from La Trobe University who acted as casualties.

Trawool Captain Sean Kerris said the exercise required significant planning and wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all involved.

“It was a challenge to bring the exercise vision to life but the learnings will be invaluable for our first responders,” he said.

“Our emergency service personnel will have a better understanding and ability to navigate very confronting emergencies if they arise after this exercise.”

First responders were first briefed on the scenario when the exercise got underway to ensure their response was as realistic as possible.

The scenario involved a hypothetical bus accident in which the bus driver suffered a cardiac arrest whilst in transit.

The bus then veered off the road as a result and into the back of a music festival hitting several campers.

There were more than 30 passengers on board the bus at the time who suffered injuries of varying degrees from the bus rollover.

The scenario was influenced by recent tragic events such as the 2023 Eynesbury bus incident and the 2023 Hunter Valley NSW incident.

The objective of the exercise was to test and improve the way emergency services work together when responding to large scale emergencies.

VICSES Seymour Unit Controller Christine Welsh said it’s important VICSES volunteers are prepared for any scenario and these exercises play a vital role in upskilling and nurturing important inter-agency teamwork.

“These relationships are particularly important in regional areas and have been an ongoing focus of VICSES’ Seymour Unit volunteers over the last 12 months,” she said.

“VICSES volunteers pride themselves on being there to support their communities during a challenging emergency response, and these training exercises only strengthen that resolve.”

CFA said the scenario was chosen because music festivals are commonly held within the region and the scale of such events can present unique challenges for emergency responders.