The first graduates of Statement of Attainment Conservation Land Management (Wildlife Emergency Response) from Bathurst TAFE College were called on to become team leaders for wildlife rescue in the aftermath of recent Victorian Bushfires.
The course has only been run once to date and 17 people, all members of NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), graduated in November 2006.
Sue Wakefield teaches this course at Bathurst TAFE College, said “The need for the course was evident from previous emergency situations like fires and floods when there were plenty of people volunteering to help rescue and protect wildlife but were unable to participate because there were no people qualified to lead them and ensure their safety in such potentially dangerous environments.
“The Victorian Fires are the first emergency since the course finished where these graduates have been needed. Two group of four were deployed to work in Victoria as team leaders for Wildlife Victoria volunteers, who at his stage do not have any members who have received appropriate training.
“The course was instigated in conjunction with WIRES because there was no training available that would enable people to carry out this work. It was developed in consultation with the Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Services, to ensure all issues relating to safety, first aid, use of maps, field communication and personal protection were covered.
“There are now a lot of people who have expressed interest in this training, so another course will be run during the next semester and we expect we will continue to offer the training as long as people are keen to participate. The training takes place over a very intensive four day course.
“We are now waiting to hear the outcome of the debriefings that will take place with the WIRES volunteers who have helped in Victoria – we will make changes to the course if there are recommendations following this experience.
Adrian Mitchell, TAFE NSW Western Institute Director said, “This whole program demonstrates the capacity of our Institute and its teachers to respond to new situations. I congratulate the team who worked with WIRES to put his course together in 2006, and am pleased that they are taking every opportunity to follow up and ensure its relevance and will continue to be up –to-date”.
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