Emergency crews have responded to a simulated earthquake scenario in Adelaide to test their response capabilities to a “catastrophic event”.
Some 21 Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) members, as well as six volunteers from the State Emergency Service (SES), worked to rescue multiple “casualties” from a collapsed five-storey building.
The simulated earthquake recovery exercise took place at Angle Park in Adelaide’s north-west.
Several fault lines run through Adelaide and the city has experienced several tremors over the past decade.
Adelaide’s biggest jolt, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in March 1954, caused widespread damage.
Quakes of magnitude 6 or higher also rocked the state’s south-east in 1897 and Warooka on the Yorke Peninsula in 1902.
Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas said SA was fortunate it had not yet experienced a major catastrophe.
“However, it is vital that we have the ability to respond to any local, national or international disaster,” he said.
The firefighters are in training to become members of SA’s Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR).
Once they are accredited, USAR will have 270 members from the MFS, the SES, Defence SA, SA Health and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
MFS Commander Colin Lindsay said the exercise was designed to be gruelling.
“It’s very, very tough, but we’re non-apologetic and we try to make it as realistic as we can,” he said.
“We also have dog search rescue specialists as well as police forensic crime scene examiners that all form part of this multi-agency capability,” he said.
USAR personnel from SA were deployed to floods in Brisbane and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand.