Helicopter drills

February 16, 2018

If jumping out of helicopters is your idea of fun, then join the Department of Conservation and Resources firefighting team.

The Benalla and Myrtleford DCR based rappel crews practised their skills last week at Reef Hills.

In a rappelling operation, the helicopter generally hovers about 10m above the tops of the trees (up to 80m above the ground).

The firefighters slide down ropes, between the trees, using specially designed harnesses.

Firefighting equipment is then lowered to the ground from the helicopter.

The 212 Bell firefighting helicopter is ideal for rappelling, being stable and is capable of carrying a good load of firefighters.

Two crews of five or six firefighters can repeal into a remote fire and tackle the fire before it becomes a major blaze.

Alternative they may contract a helipad to allow reinforcements to be brought in.

Once on the ground, the fun is over and the hard work of stopping the fire starts.

Crews practice almost every two weeks during the summer, with the helicopter leased from Lloyd Helicopters on permanent standby.

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