In an effort to increase the teamwork and experience of Wheatbelt emergency service volunteers, SES and St John members from around the region have taken part in an earthquake hospital simulation exercise.
Held at the old Cunderdin Hospital, with the permission of the Wheatbelt Health Department, on Saturday, November 23 members of Northam, Merredin, Toodyay, Mundaring and Kalgoorlie Boulder SES and St John Ambulance responded to the planned earthquake incident.
Wyalkatchem emergency service cadets acted as casualties on the day and were attended to by the volunteers taking part in the training.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Wheatbelt district officer Matt Reimer said the day came from a desire to create a collaborative emergency service environment in the region.
"Over the years the Wheatbelt has had some decent sized earthquakes in Meckering, Cunderdin and even further out to Kalgoorlie," he said.
"It's a risk for us, and because we have that risk we need to make sure that our emergency services are prepared and trained to be able to respond to that should we get an earthquake incident.
"The whole idea was to run an exercise to simulate an earthquake so we could practice the skills for the emergency service volunteer responders.
"As it was a regional exercise it also gave us the opportunity to bring together the units from around the state.
"It was a good opportunity for them to all come together to train and meet each other because that is how it is going to be in a real incident.
"It gives us an idea of what kind of response capabilities we have and any areas where we can make some improvements and enhance training."
Mr Reimer said moving forward, he wanted to see additional exercises take place.
"This was the first time something of this kind in the region had been held for a number of years," he said.
"We want to give our volunteers more experiences to continue to work together to practice their skills.
"We had to take the opportunity to use that building, because it is not often that you get a building that great to use for an exercise.
"It was very fortunate that we were able to use it. It helps to simulate a more realistic environment."
Mr Reimer said the role of SES volunteers was ever-changing.
"The SES volunteers are being used more and more for different things like supporting fire operations more than they used to," he said.
"There is a lot more variety than the traditional roles they held in the past."
People who want to volunteer with the SES are asked to visit www.dfes.vol.org.au.