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Personal location beacon saves Council worker

By December 22, 2017March 8th, 2018No Comments

Senior Constable Aleda Day

Last week a Mareeba Shire Council worker was the latest person rescued by 510 after a mishap while conducting pest management of bushland about 15km South-East of Petford.

Thankfully, Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) not only provide their workers with first aid training but some of the best PPE gear around and both things came into play when he slipped and fell down a river bank causing a mild concussion and a dislocated knee.

The worker had recently completed an update of his first aid certificate, so he knew he needed to immobilise his knee and get to a better position and after walking about 3km with the help of a tree branch to a clear spot, the worker activated his Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) due to no phone or radio coverage.

After the activation of the PLB, a signal was received at the rescue coordination centre with all the details of who it was registered to and Police and Emergency Services were activated.

After contacting MSC to confirm details of the person who had the PLB, Dimbulah Police deployed to the general location of the MSC worker. Rescue 510 was also activated due to the dense bushland and distance from a medical facility.

Dimbulah Police located the worker’s vehicle and had started to activate other land search emergency services when Rescue 510 finalised its previous job and became available.

Once Rescue 510 was on scene, the worker was located very quickly due to the aircraft tracking his GPS Personal Location Beacon, which pinpointed the worker’s location to within 120 meters. Once overhead Rescue 510 was able to spot him clearly with the aid of his high-viz work shirt and hat.

The Rescue Crew Officer (RCO) and QAS Flight Paramedic were winched into the location, assessed the worker, administered treatment and he was then winched safely back into the aircraft and clown to Cairns Hospital for treatment.

“I would like to thank the Rescue 510 crew for their assistance in rescuing me, I may be a little sore but thanks to everyone who came looking for me, I get to spend Christmas with my family,” said the MSC worker.

“The night before I had been watching ‘Air Rescue’ on TV and watched a surfer being winched up from the rocks but I never thought it would be me getting rescued the very next day.”

A Mareeba Shire Council spokesperson is praising emergency services personnel for their quick response to the incident.

“Fortunately the incident was not life threatening and it is reassuring to know that the emergency systems in place for all our workers are sufficient and able to deal with situations such as this,” a Council spokesperson said.

Police are reminding people that the 121.5 MHz beacons are no longer detected by satellite and need to be replaced with GPS 406 MHz distress beacon as soon as possible.

Tablelands Police strongly recommend the use of PLB that has GPS capability and that is registered with AMSA.