Q & A with Crew Member - Cameron Fewtrell

Check out our recent Q & A with Rescue Crewman, Cameron. Cameron chats about the significance of our long-term partnership with Glencore, who has played an integral role in the operation and training of our RACQ CapRescue crew for many years.

How long have you been with RACQ CapRescue and what led you to this position?

I have been with RACQ CapRescue for two years now. I have always admired what CapRescue did in the community and always wanted to be in emergency services. At first I was thinking paramedics, but after I saw what the CapRescue crew were doing, I thought that’s a job I would like to do.

What is your position and what are your main responsibilities?

I am a Rescue Crewman. As a rescue crewman, my main responsibilities are assisting with search and rescue missions and winch rescues. Whether that’s searching for people or searching for a beacon going off that could lead to a rescue. One of my main roles is the winching side of things – winching down into a situation, escorting a paramedic to the scene or getting a patient up as safe as possible into he aircraft.

What is your most memorable rescue?

My most memorable rescue was at Kemp Hill in Yeppoon. A man was stuck on the side of the hill and there was no way the other emergency services crews could get to him. Due to the hazard of him being in such a precarious positions, we elected to use a strop winch which we wouldn’t normally use. I was able to use a device that I don’t normally get to use a lot of the time, but it was the smartest decision which resulted in the patient being safe and well. It was mentally and physically challenging getting the patient up into the aircraft as safe as possible.

How many hours of training do you complete each year?

Rescue crew officers complete about 40 hours of training each year. We assist with doctors and paramedic training as well which accounts for a bit of it.

Tell us about the type of training you perform?

We do a lot of static winch training and live winch training. Usually we will take the aircraft out and do a 20 foot hover. Once hovering, we will go through our training procedures to imitate a live winch. Every six months we do water winch currency training. This is where we will go off Yeppoon, put a dummy in the water and do fake dummy runs practicing our winching.

Multiple agencies help us with our training. The most prominent being the Coastguard. We practice our boat transfers with the coast guard. To do this, we will radio the coast guard, tell them what we are doing, practice winching onto the boat and then practice getting the patients off the boat and into the aircraft.

How does this prepare you for real rescue?

Our training prepares us for real life rescues. It enables you to get all of the techniques right and get everything down pat. Once you get into a real rescue situation, everything becomes an instinct because we have done so much training to prepare for the situation.

How significant is Glencore’s support to CapRescue?

The support we receive from Glencore is essential for us and it’s so significant because it helps us prepare for these real life situations. It helps us to get people out of these situations that otherwise they could potentially die in.