A major interagency emergency training exercise held at the Southern Regional Livestock Exchange (SRLX) has been heralded a success by participants.
The mock-emergency was staged at the Council-owned and managed facility on Monday 31 July to test local emergency service response and procedures.
The scenario chosen for the simulated emergency was an outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease in cattle.
“Fortunately a real outbreak of foot and mouth disease has never been recorded in Australia,” said Amanda Lawrence, Council’s Local Emergency Management Officer in charge of coordinating the event.
“However real outbreaks of the disease abroad have caused enormous damage to livestock and tourism industries,” she said. “And it was for this reason that the scenario was chosen for our Shire.”
In 2001 foot and mouth disease resulted in millions of cows, sheep and pigs being culled across the United Kingdom. The impact to that country’s agriculture and tourism was immense and took years to recover.
“Another reason why the exercise was undertaken was to test the communications of our Shire’s various emergency teams,” said Ms Lawrence.
“The location, size and facilities at the Moss Vale-based saleyard were critical in enabling us to successfully host this training drill.”
Council staff were joined on the day by representatives from NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Department of Primary Industries, South East Local Land Services and officers from the NSW Police Force.
Also in attendance were local stock and station agents, livestock transporters and producers.
A debrief of the day followed the event with participants praising the positive coordination and liaison between the various agencies.
“Staging mock emergency drills like this take considerable organisation and collaboration,” Ms Lawrence added. “However our experience suggests they provide invaluable learning opportunities.”
“Over the coming weeks we’ll be putting together a formal report for all participants which will detail the learnings and experiences gathered from the exercise.
“On behalf of Council I would like to thank everyone who participated in the exercise and for sharing their expertise and insights.”