Saturday is a day of rest and recreation for most, but the weekends are also the opportunity for Narrabri Volunteer Rescue Association members to continue their training in emergency rescue procedures.

The volunteers undertake ongoing training in many scenarios ranging from freeing injured victims trapped in vehicle accidents, to land searches, domestic and industrial rescues and ‘vertical rescues.’

Vertical rescues involve the extrication of people – and sometimes animals – from high places including buildings elevated structures and mountain terrain.

Earlier this year, VRA personnel were called in for a night rescue to bring a young man to safety after a fall which saw him tumble down a cliff face at Mt Kaputar peak lookout.

Andprior to that, VRA personnel walked into rough, cold and wet terrain in another part of the National Park, Yulladunida Crater, to aid an injured hiker and see her airlifted to hospital from the accident site.

The weekend’s VRA program saw three visiting vertical rescue trainers from the Tweed District and Central Coast rescue squads help local volunteers further hone their skills with an instruction day at several venues including an old pump site at Narrabri West.

The 15-metre deep and cavernous pump station provided the volunteers with an ideal venue to practise techniques and procedures to retrieve victims from high and difficult situations.

The VRA vertical rescue instruction weekend began on Saturday morning with training on the VRA’s Mooloobar Street rescue station radio tower.

On Sunday, the squad moved to Little Mountain to continue training in cliff rescue.

After packing up their equipment, the volunteers were called to a motor vehicle accident on the Kamilaroi Highway at 3.30pm to extricate a trapped motorist.

VRA quietly observes 46th anniversary, having been a valued part of the community’s emergency services for almost half a century.

The VRA marked this anniversary on on May 24.

The team grew largely out of the need to assist at road accidents, filling a need for specialised rescue services in the district .

Over the past 46 years the volunteer members have attended countless emergencies, often live saving and often confronting.

The VRA also fills a role at the less dramatic end of the spectrum, including removal of snakes from places where they are not wanted.

However, the VRA offers an avenue of community service which, while presenting sometimes daunting situations, is challenging and interesting, acknowledges veteran VRA member, currently regional co-ordinator and senior training officer, Harvey Black.

An ongoing challenge for the VRA is to attract new members.

“You can be male or female, over 18 years of age,” said Mr Black.

“The VRA will find a role for you.”

The Narrabri VRA currently has 12 members and interested applicants are always welcome.

The longevity of many members’ VRA roles is a testament to the sense of community service, camaraderie, achievement and satisfaction that comes with being part of a vital local organisation.

Ongoing training is provided and covers the spectrum of emergency scenarios which can suddenly appear.

The VRA is well equipped and weekly, structured training in all phases of rescue and recovery work at the Tibbereena Street rescue station ensures members are always at readiness in case of emergency.

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