LEETON shire State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers were among those who were put through paces when it comes to flood rescues recently.
The volunteers were among the first in the state to complete a new intensive flood rescue program developed by the NSW SES.
SES Flood Operations and Rescue Capability Development Group co-chairman Christopher Blogg said the program delivers specialised flood rescue environment training for people trapped in water.
"The program is quite significant because it sets out a flood rescue-specific accreditation pathway to nationally recognised qualifications," he said.
"It establishes common standards for further engagement with the other rescue agencies across borders."
NSW SES has worked with rescue agencies across Australia throughout the development of the program.
The other volunteers who took part in the training, alongside those from Leeton, came from Bega, Kiama, Shellharbour, Tumut and Ulladulla.
"If we had a major flood and needed the support of other agencies like Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire Service or even Surf Life Saving, this qualification would ensure that everyone has the same high level of skills," Mr Blogg said.
Requiring more than 45 hours of training and routine re-certification, the program is demanding and not for the faint-hearted.
Although the safety of NSW SES volunteers is paramount, the physical and leadership qualities, and the personal commitment required to complete the program and work as a Flood Rescue Operator are high.
"Not everyone has what it takes to make it through," Mr Blogg said.
The program was held at the Tumut River in the Snowy Mountains.
It is the ideal venue for the training as the river's hydrology is similar to a naturally flooded environment.
"It may look attractive and tranquil, but it's certainly not a river for the unprepared," Mr Blogg said.
"It's cold, there are many natural and constructed obstructions, and the dense water carries a lot of force.
"Our courses provide qualified levels of competency, but the learning never finishes as our volunteers undergo regular rigorous training, skills development and certification to keep at the top of their game."
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