In case of emergency: RFS and SES take part in preparedness planning

Mt McDonald, Woodstock, Lyndhurst and Gap RFS brigades alongside Cowra SES raced to Wyangala Waters on Wednesday and while there may have been smoke, there was no fire.

The units, alongside the park's management and staff, were taking part in Exercise Reflections, a preparedness planning scenario involving the evacuation of the park.

The exercise bore fruit from the park's annual fire and evacuation drill, with acting assistant manager, Jill Appleton, saying it was about being proactive rather than reactive.

"Particularly in light of last summer's bushfires, and considering we've had a pretty good season this year, I thought it was a good opportunity to partner up with the SES and the local RFS to have an exercise," she said.

"It's an excellent opportunity and we're very excited to have everyone involved and really grateful they've all given up time out of their day.

"They've had some new recruits for the RFS and we've had some new people come on board down at Reflections so it's really good to be able to bring everyone together."

Mt McDonald brigade captain, Paul Newman, said the exercise was a great training opportunity heading into the 2020/21 fire season.

"An inter-agency operation like this give us hands on experience for if something was to occur, how we would handle it and how the resources would work," he said.

"It makes sure the communications between the agencies works fine, communications back to headquarters and just the general scenario of how it runs and what needs to be done if it were to come real."

Captain Newman said it was fantastic the park had allowed them to develop the scenario out of their annual drill.

"We've got other agencies involved and made it as real to life as what it could be so can iron out the bugs," he said.

"If something goes wrong, we know what we've done wrong and it will be covered in the future.

"It also gives the community a sense of wellbeing to know that we are active and doing these exercises.

"We are an active area and we can represent and save the community if an incident does occur, whether it be fire or flood or storm damage, we have all avenues covered."

Cowra SES Local Controller, Karl Milic, agreed, saying the closer to real life training was the better for all involved.

"We have trained evacuation personnel and this gives them a mock run through an evacuation exercise," he said.

"Here we have a real life scenario for us to work through, It's very important we try to make all our training as realistic as we can.

"If we can practice in real life scenarios then it's best practice for us."

He also praised the the RFS for inviting them to participate.

"With fires we only take part if we are asked but we're an important back up for the RFS for administrative and logistics support," he said.

"That is another reason why we need to work with the brigades in training which unfortunately doesn't happen a lot.

"So this is really a good idea that the RFS guys here have had.

"I commend the RFS units in the area for trying to bring the emergency services to a closer working relationship."