Fake attack tests disaster readiness

Ballarat Campus resembled a disaster zone as staff and students joined up with emergency services for a training exercise.

More than 120 staff and students worked with representatives from the Victorian and Ballarat emergency and health services to act as first responders and victims in the simulation of an unfolding emergency on Tuesday 28 November.

The disaster scenario was that of an active shooter and motor vehicle attack at the campus.

Victoria Police, Country Fire Authority (CFA), State Emergency Service (SES), Ambulance Victoria (AV), Ballarat Health Services (BHS), ACU Faculty of Health Sciences staff and ACU Paramedicine students collaborated in the real-to-life emergency scenario.

Disasters are complex events that require an extraordinary and coordinated response from emergency services.  The management of the scene is dynamic and paramedics must apply principles of command, control and triage in a situation of limited resources.

Campus Dean Professor Bridget Aitchison said that the activity, now in its third year, was evidence of the growing public safety partnership between State and local jurisdictions regarding the response to a threat to community safety.

“I was incredibly impressed with our students during this exercise.  It was a realistic pressure-cooker and they did themselves, ACU and the community proud. This was really next level training and I have full confidence that if I were involved in such an incident, I would be in great hands with these paramedics!”

“Ballarat and the surrounding region are well served by multiple agencies with expertise in all matters of policing, disaster relief and healthcare. It is vital for us to build on that expertise and reinforce the ties between each of these vital partners to make sure Ballarat services are well prepared for an emergency that may arise,” Professor Aitchison said.

The aim of the exercise is to:

  • Give participants exposure to incident scene, command and control, communications, triage and treatment associated with mass casualty disaster response.
  • Strengthen collaborative partnerships between ACU and Victorian emergency and health services.
  • Provide a training platform for Victoria Police Operational Safety Training and Tactics (OSTT).


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