30 January 2020

Updated: Firefighters injured by fallen tree in Orroral Valley

| Michael Weaver
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File Photo: NSW RFS.

Three NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters from the Jerrabomberra Creek Rural Fire Brigade have sustained non life-threatening injuries after a tree fell on their tanker on the Orroral Valley fire ground last night (29 January).

A fourth firefighter was uninjured. Three of the four members have been released from hospital, with one remaining under observation.

“The crew were working in an area that other crews had been working in throughout the evening when two trees fell on the truck and crew,” the Jerrabomberra Creek Rural Fire Brigade said via social media.

“All crew are now with family and are being provided with support by the Brigade and NSW Rural Fire Service.”

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) confirmed that at 10:45 pm last night, they received a report of a fallen tree onto the NSW RFS tanker, which was working on the Orroral Valley fire.

An ESA spokesperson said the four firefighters were assessed on site by an ACT Ambulance Service 4WD unit that was in the Orroral Valley.

“Three of the occupants have sustained non life-threatening injuries. The fourth occupant is uninjured,” the ESA spokesperson said.

“All four patients have been transported by ambulance to the Canberra Hospital for further assessment and their families have been contacted.”

ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said that the quick response by paramedics showed that the ACT’s safety plan was working after the ambulance was on scene within two minutes.

“This rapid response by the ACT Ambulance Service was due to the approach we are taking with high-risk fighting activities here in the ACT,” she said.

“We place ambulance capability on the fire ground as far forward as safety considerations allow.

“All crews were immediately pulled back to a safe position while the patients were triaged, treated and packaged for transport in additional ambulances that responded from Canberra.”

Peer support was dispatched to provide support to all personnel involved.

Commissioner Whelan said crews were briefed about safety precautions before going onto the fire ground.

They were given a clear directive to only operate on established fire trails and mopping up was to be no more than 10-metres from the edge of the road.

The crew had been tasked with the patrol and mop up of the Angus fire trail and had parked about 100m from the intersection of the Orroral road, where the ambulance 4WD was positioned.

All units who were involved remained on the scene until ACT Police arrived and conducted a hot debrief on site.

The incident has been reported to WorkSafe, who are investigating.

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