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New course trains air search observers in Perth

Wednesday 21 April 2021
AMSA has delivered a revamped air search observers course that includes helicopter underwater escape training.
maritime emergency

AMSA is training State Emergency Service (SES) members who participate in life-saving search and rescue operations with a revamped Air Search Observers (ASOs) course. 

The refreshed course was held for the first time in Perth from 27-28 February and now includes Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET). Trainees complete online training prior to the course proper and finish with a  fixed wing flight covering  practical search procedures. 

Senior Officer Standards West, Mr Paul Seghezzi, who supervised the running of the new course said that the new structure has significantly value added to the training.

“The HUET training was undertaken at Jandakot Airport, where the participants received classroom instruction before spending the afternoon in a series of procedures, becoming more realistic, as the simulator immerses and inverts the participants in the pool,” Mr Seghezzi said. 

“HUET training can be a nerve-racking experience for some but it is invaluable survival training for people who might be flying in search scenarios.

“The flight involved a search for a life jacket and a Lifetec Dummy, both placed by the Cockburn Marine Rescue team. 

“The realism of the targets and their locations made for a good representation of typical AMSA tasking requirements and all ASOs were able to successfully complete the course.”

Mr Seghezzi said that the course was an improvement on what was previously delivered.

“The training courses have always provided Air Search Observers practical, hands on training in what to expect when they are conducting search and rescue; such as how hard it can be to see someone in the water who can appear as just a small speck in the ocean. 

“While they have always been provided with generic emergency procedures training, the addition of the HUET component also prepares them for the practical actions required in the unlikely event of a helicopter ditching incident.”

The new ASO course will be delivered in other locations around the country in coming months.

Have a look at the images and brief vision of the course.