Planning for the unplanned

Published on

Karijini rescue

A medical emergency at Karijini National Park last Sunday highlights the importance of well understood and tested local emergency arrangements.

Tom Price Police activated their local arrangements, a ‘group call out’ to St John Ambulance, DFES State Emergency Service (SES) and Karijini Rangers, to provide support to St John Ambulance and their complex and challenging task to evacuate a snake bite victim from Dales Gorge.

While this incident was not a land search operation, with St John Ambulance the lead agency to initially respond, and DFES in charge of the recovery of the patient, the local EM arrangements in place for police-led land searches were quickly activated and resulted in a well-coordinated and efficient patient recovery operation.

Parts of the recovery operation were recorded on Body Worn Camera and provide an insight into the challenges faced when working in difficult terrain. The vision was released to the public to highlight the impressive response to the incident - a response which is usually coordinated by Tom Price Police under land search operation conditions and carried out predominantly by local emergency service volunteers.

Pilbara District Superintendent Kim Massam commended the Tom Price officers and their emergency service partners.

“While deployments to Karijini National Park are not uncommon, each emergency deployment still has unique challenges and considerations to overcome,” he said. 

“By having well-understood local EM arrangements in place emergency responders can focus on those unique considerations, while knowing the broader Incident Management Team structure and associated roles and responsibilities are already in place and understood.

“The response to land search operations and medical emergencies may look the same to an observer, however it is critical for all local responders to understand who is in charge of a particular incident as the HMA, or lead agency, as those personnel are responsible for making key decisions, incurring costs and ultimately coordinating any post-incident de-briefing and reporting obligations.

“Sunday’s patient recovery operation was executed safely and efficiently, with the patient successfully recovered and transferred to hospital for further medical treatment.”