Explosive exercise

Tasmanian police and rescue services recover a mock body, battling heavy rain and winds in a training exercise at Woolnorth. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Training. Emergency and technical service teams sprang into action on Thursday, with a mock scenario involving a wind turbine explosion taking place at Woolnorth’s Studland Bay Wind Farm.

The simulation, which included the recovery of a ‘deceased victim’, involved search and rescue officers working at heights inside the towering structure as Bomb Scene Examination and forensic officers pieced together the situation at ground level.

With heavy rain and strong winds a constant factor throughout the recovery process, Tasmanian Police Inspector Kim Stevens emphasised the importance of the day to prepare officers for any kind of challenge.

“The chance for us to train in these environments is essential,” he said.
“As you can see by today, conditions are unpredictable. We have to be prepared for anything.”

From shutting off the power in the turbine, to carefully transporting the ‘victim’ from the top levels of the turbine via a pulley mechanism, no details were spared to mirror a possible real-life incident.

“They were working in torchlight until techs were able to re-establish power,” Inspector Stevens said.

“It’s obviously a pretty unique structure, which gives its own problems at a height of 80-odd metres.

“We do similar scenarios in ordinary high-rise structures. . . [but] we’re always looking for something different.”

With the relative isolation of Woolnorth from the nearest town Smithton, Inspector Stevens added the scenario aided with the “forward planning” needed to combat any possible issue arising on the property.

The training exercise began at 8am, with a body examination and investigation on the causes of the incident expected to see emergency crews finish up at 4pm that day.





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