National Volunteer Week 2020 is Monday 18 May – Sunday 24 May 2020 “Changing Communities, Changing Lives”

Martin Grava, Mark Hoad, Michael Beelitz and Ben Costi wearing breathing apparatus in an underground training mine rescue scenario

The Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES Unit is the primary rescue unit in Coober Pedy and surrounding district.

The unit is responsible for a range of rescue scenarios, including but not limited to: Storm and flooding, road crash rescue, vertical rescue, confined space rescue, mine rescues, search and rescue as well as assisting the other Emergency Services (South Australian Ambulance Service, Country Fire Service and South Australian Police) when required.

Matt Hardy, rescuer in the scenario, and Peter Litchfield, casualty in scenario, being winched to safety up a mining shaft.

The history of the Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES Unit is one that showcases the resilient and hardworking nature that is the Coober Pedy community.

The unit is now responsible for rescues within a radius of up to 300km and potentially further North.

Volunteers erecting the Arachnipod to effect blind shaft, mine rescue, at training

The current unit is aligned with and well supported by the South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES); where all of our members receive world class training to ensure that all members are equipped to carry out each rescue scenario safely and appropriately.

Water over Kempe road in recent storm at Coober Pedy

To support the unit and its members with their continued service to the community the SASES has just delivered a brand new trailer, specifically designed to store all of the equipment required for flooding and storm damage.

The new storm trailer

There have been several of these trailers distributed to units throughout the State and Coober Pedy is grateful to be included in this.

Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES Unit Manager, Michael Beelitz said ‘The new trailer will allow us to effectively store and organise all of our equipment we use for a storm or flood job. It has increased storage and functionality to enable us to carry out these jobs much more safely’.

Michael Beelitz (Unit Manager) accepting delivery of the new storm trailer from Trevor Arnold (SASES North Region Commander)

The new trailer features a generator, lighting, water tank, ladder storage, tool storage and plenty of shelving to store equipment such as chainsaws, sandbags, tarps, pumps and hoses etc.

The unit has also recently taken procession of self-contained breathing apparatus kits to assist in a range of rescue scenarios and complement the existing hookah apparatus which has been on the Mine Rescue truck for a long period of time now.

Water over Kemp road in recent storm at Coober Pedy

A number of our members have recently undergone their breathing apparatus training; this will complement their vertical rescue and confined space rescue training to allow a range of effective rescues, but specifically, a mine rescue to take place.

The Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES Unit has also just secured the approval and financial assistance through SASES to upgrade the unit facilities to include both male and female change rooms. “In my time, the unit has always been blessed with strong member numbers and it is exciting to be able to recognise the dedication of these members by providing them with the best possible facilities to assist them in serving their community as volunteers”, said Michael Beelitz.

A road crash scenario with the driver trapped. Ben Costi performing relief cuts to complete a dash roll and free the driver while Kylie-Anne is managing the casualty.

The unit has had 7 new members join the unit in the last 6 months. The addition of change room facilities is a step towards inclusivity within the unit and hopefully support the recruitment and retainment of new volunteer members.

On behalf of the Coober Pedy community the Coober Pedy Regional Times would like to say a collective thank you to all of the volunteer members, and their families who support them, to serve the local community and broader community through the Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES Unit.

The Coober Pedy Mine Rescue/SES truck managing the road closure after a serious vehicle accident to allow the Royal Flying Doctor Service to land on Traeger Airstrip on the Highway

If you are interested in volunteering with the unit or would like some further information please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our members or call Michael Beelitz on 0407 724 966 or drop in to the unit on a training night; Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm.

Please note that some of these images were taken prior to social distancing rules being implemented.

Call 000 for a life threatening emergency, or 132500 if you require SES assistance

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