Statewide exercise tests Tasmania’s bushfire readiness

Statewide exercise tests Tasmania’s bushfire readiness

02 December 2013

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Australia — Tasmania’s emergency services believe they will be better prepared for the bushfire season thanks to a multi-agency exercise yesterday.

Exercise Huddle was based on the circumstances and conditions faced during January’s catastrophic bushfires.

About 240 people took part, testing operational technology, logistics, planning and aircraft safety.

Fire officers also tried out the state’s new air-compressed foam truck while dummy fire incidents were run online.

Tasmania’s bushfire inquiry found that emergency management plans were not ready in January.

It found there was confusion between police and the fire service about who was in charge.

Co-operation between the two agencies was an important message from the weekend exercise.

Tasmania’s Fire Chief Mike Brown said it provided a good opportunity to improve preparedness.

“It’s a good chance for us to practise that with the other organisations we work with,” he said.

“We also have land management agencies and the police involved so that we’ve got a good opportunity now to practise some of these things and to explain the way we operate amongst a bigger group across the organisation.”

While Mr Brown has questioned the inquiry’s findings that computer modelling was not relied upon on January 4th, he acknowledges it’s importance will continue to grow.”

“I would have confidence that in a few years time we can rely on modelling a lot more to help us inform warnings.”

As part of the exercise the fire service also trialled a new system of issuing warnings and community information.

Police Commissioner Darren Hine says more exercises will be held in coming months.

“Exercises of this nature certainly make us better prepared and that’s what its all about; to exercise during quiet times to make sure were ready for if we have another catastrophic situation that we faced this year.”

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