Defence assistance to the civil community exercise – HMAS Canberra

Defence assistance to the civil community exercise – HMAS Canberra


This exercise gives us an opportunity to
conduct defence aid to civil community. And because we’ve got the landing helicopter
dock and a number of helicopter spots we’re very well suited to be able to move
people from the shore to our ship and safely transport them to another area. When the personnel come on board we do a triage to make sure those who can
ambulate then go up to the light vehicle deck the screening and those who cannot
ambulate will be brought straight into here and we can ascertain there if there are
any emergent requirements. We have an organic team of 12 people – a doctor, a
pharmacist, nursing staff, medical staff, lead by myself, and we can augment up to
55 additional personnel. We obviously need to know who they are,
whether they’ve got any problems like allergies, food allergies or medical
injuries, so we need to process them, talk to them, support them, provide them with
food, water, comfort, as much as possible so that they feel welcome, they feel
secure and safe and we can look after their needs on an individual and
group basis. It was quite surreal to board the ship coming in
through the opening at the back. Quite an amazing experience. HMAS Canberra’s had the opportunity to watch HMAS Choules and Adelaide conduct
Operation Bushfire Assist and to be part of a humanitarian assistance operation
where they showed compassion and care for their fellow Australians and other
people visiting the region. In particular HMAS Choules’ evacuation of over a thousand
people from Mallacoota was outstanding and we look at that as the example on
how we can try to build our capability and our efficiencies in doing the
same sorts of things.

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