Centre of Excellence leads the way with flood response courses

Wednesday 01 May 2024

In times of emergency, Surf Life Saving is always on hand to help rescue and recovery operations alongside other emergency services.

To enhance this capability, in August 2023 Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Surf Life Saving Tasmania (SLST) announced the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence in Tasmania to further advance the Flood and Swift Water Rescue capabilities of surf lifesavers from right across the country.

Earlier this year, 13 key lifesaving staff and volunteer advisory committee members from five states participated in the first Flood Rescue Responder course to be held since last year’s announcement.

The SLSA courses delivered over the weekend were:

  • Flood Rescue Responder, and
  • Flood Rescue Responder Plus, for inflatable rescue boat drivers.

By partaking in the courses, participants were given the opportunity to utilise a range of flood and swift water response gear and personal protective equipment.

Attendees were also given a snapshot of two other Awards which will be rolled out by the Centre of Excellence : Flood Rescue Technician and Flood Boat Operator.

The two-day course was a fantastic success, and an endorsement for what the National Centre of Excellence will continue to provide for many years to come.

“The ability to deliver courses related to flood and swift water rescue not only upskills our membership, it has a real-life impact when Surf Life Saving is called upon to assist with an emergency response,” said Alison Stubbs, SLST General Manager. “Over time, more and more people within the movement will attain these Awards which can only benefit the wider community."

Following the Tasmanian floods of 2016, SLST reviewed its involvement and in the following years have made significant investment into international best practice training, resources, and research, leading to recognition by emergency services, governments and even internationally as an example of best practice.

The Centre of Excellence has since been established to draw on SLST’s expertise to educate and equip volunteers with the necessary skills to perform flood and swift water rescues.

Along with three participants from Tasmania, attendees also flew in from South Australia and the Northern Territory, along with two states which have been hit hard by flooding in the last three years, New South Wales and Queensland.

“While the core focus of Surf Life Saving remains delivering coastal safety services, the ability of our volunteers to be leaders in other emergency service operations is an invaluable asset to the community," said Stubbs.

Centre of Excellence leads the way with flood response courses