Charles Darwin University
enews home

Lessons from past to inform safety talks

By Patrick Nelson

A “casualty” receives emergency treatment at the Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition at Casuarina campus A “casualty” receives emergency treatment at the Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition at Casuarina campus

Lessons learnt in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy will inform discussion about “emergency management” during Charles Darwin University’s first Safety Awareness Week, in October.

Manager, Emergency Management Jo Miller said the central theme, “Looking back and moving forward” had been prompted by the 40th anniversary in December of the devastating tropical cyclone.

“If there was ever an upside to Tracy, it is that we can learn from it and use it to raise awareness about safety, resilience and emergency management, and to highlight the need to be prepared,” she said.

“The primary aim of the week is to raise awareness across the university through discussions, workshops and training around prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from any safety and emergency-related incidents.

“Among our guest speakers are people who have dealt with disasters, and survivors of emergencies who will be sharing their experiences and the valuable lessons they learnt.”

Ms Miller said CDU enjoyed a strong reputation as a safe place to work and study, and she intended to keep it that way.

“Safety is something that requires continual work, good communication and vigilance, and ideally, input from everyone.”

Ms Miller said that at both a strategic and operational level, CDU was developing its capacity to mitigate and prepare for “incidents”, and to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach to response and recovery from them.

“There was a focus on the ‘response’ element at the Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition, which took place at Casuarina campus for the first time last month,” she said.

“Four teams, all representing mining companies from QLD and the NT, competed against each other in a series of realistic emergency scenarios.

“Participants tested their skills and response capabilities in fire fighting, rescue at heights, first aid, road accident rescue, hazardous materials and breathing apparatus search and rescue.”

Ms Miller said the BHP Billiton GEMCO team from Groote Eylandt was the standout, winning the best medic, best team safety and best overall team categories.

“This was a fantastic learning opportunity for CDU staff and students who volunteered as wardens and first aid officers for the university. I was encouraged that a number of CDU staff and students participated as casualties, in various support roles or simply came to watch,” Ms Miller said.

Safety Awareness Week will take place from October 13-17.