GALLERY: Flagstaff Hill ‘rescue’ attracts onlookers

A rescue operation over the cliff on Flagstaff Hill in Wollongong drew quite a crowd on Saturday.

But no-one was in danger; it wasn’t a person being ‘‘saved’’ but a dummy, as part of  training exercise in vertical rescue for the fire-fighters at Wollongong Fire Station.

Ed Melinz, a technical rescue instructor at the Fire and Rescue NSW Training College said the operation was part of a regular skills maintenance program to ensure the fire-fighters’ skills are up to date.

‘‘That’s the plan to keep their skills  at a good level,’’ Mr Melinz said.

‘‘This sort of rescue isn’t very common. It’s nowhere near as common as a motor vehicle accident so when you do need the gear, we have to be confident the guys know what they’re doing, both for their own safety and for the successful outcome of the operation as well.’’

The operation used a Larkin rescue frame, which is set up at the top of the cliff and then fire-fighters or paramedics abseil down to the patient.

‘‘In most cases in good conditions the helicopter will be used,’’  Mr Melinz said.

‘‘But in certain 

locations where it’s difficult to access or there are bad flying conditions, we’ll have to retrieve the patient by using one of these rescue frames.

‘‘Your first priority is to go down and access the patient, give them first aid and make sure they don’t fall any further.

‘‘Then once the patient is stabilised we then think about retrieving them.’’

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