Our Guest Speaker on 29 March was Senior Constable Roger Gough who nearly left members blown away literally by passing around a number of IED’s for members to examine how easily they can be concealed and triggered. Most members couldn’t wait to trigger the devices but fortunately only buzzers were set off all night with Roger using his 35 to 36 years experience and having removed the explosives knowing Rotarians would behave like little boys with new toys.
Roger told us of how he was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré Syndrome shortly after the collision between the pleasure boat Merinda and ferry Pam Burridge on March 28, 2007. He helped remove bodies and saved the life of Belgian ice-skating judge Rita Zonnekeyn.
Three days later, he developed a persistent cough and, nine months on, was paralysed.
Roger was also involved in the Murder investigations that eventually led to the arrest of Ivan Milat. 0n 20 September 1992 a decaying corpse was discovered in the Belanglo State Forest. The following day, police constables Roger Gough and Suzanne Roberts discovered a second body 30 metres (98 ft) from the first. The bodies were determined to be that of missing British backpackers Caroline Clarke and Joanne Walters.
Roger’s job also involves suicide intervention with perhaps up to 3 attempts a week at The Gap at Sydney’s South Head.
Roger gave us a slide show presentation showing many rescue situations termed vertical and land, the use of sophisticated equipment, including a portable X-ray machine, the use of disrupters whereby a water charge is used to remove a specific part of a device expected to contain explosives, such as the boot lid of a car and finally a video showing the explosive effects of a white and red binary substance combined in a quantity the size of a match head, which when incorporated in a writing pen shell and detonated, vaporised a large Water Melon.
The presentation also covered the history and present day make up of the Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit, as outlined in the following article sourced from the following website page; http://www.policensw.com/info/gen/u3.html
Members thoroughly enjoyed Roger’s presentation and our programmer Pat Murray was congratulated on the quality of delivery of Guest Speakers
NSW Police Rescue & Bomb Disposal Unit
For 60 years now, the NSW Police Rescue Unit has been serving the community, tackling difficult and often dangerous rescue situations and helping people caught in often traumatic circumstances. In that time, the Unit's name has changed four times and the range of jobs has broadened to all manner of rescues and incidents. It is estimated that police rescue has attended around 300,000 jobs in the past 60 years.
Police in the Rescue Unit volunteer to carry out emergency tasks which are beyond the resources and capabilities of other police. They are highly trained in the use of specialist emergency equipment for the most challenging rescue tasks.
Our Rescue Unit has an international reputation for the calibre and experience of its personnel and the high quality and effectiveness of its equipment.
Formed in 1942, the Rescue Unit was originally established as the "Cliff Rescue Squad" to retrieve injured people from cliff bases along the NSW coastline. The war years had seen an increase in the number of people threatening and committing suicide from cliff tops and the extra demand on police resources led to the creation of the new specialised Squad.
Over the years, the role of the Cliff Rescue Squad changed dramatically, with officers attending all types of rescue situations and assisting police with a wide range of operations. The word "Cliff" was dropped from the title in 1960, and the Rescue Unit now offers the community of NSW a fully responsive rescue facility.
Based in the Zetland Police Complex at 81 Portman Street, the Rescue Unit HQ is responsible generally for the inner Sydney area and the eastern suburbs. Units are also located in the Wollongong, Newcastle, Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Cooma, Lismore and Bathurst Districts.
There are now 31 Police Rescue operators, trained to use equipment such as metal detectors, trapped person locaters, an emergency power truck, mobile field kitchen and mobile field command bus with sophisticated communication equipment. These officers are expert in abseiling, climbing, single rope techniques and stretcher escorts with cliff machines.
Some of the Rescue Unit's responsibilities and challenges include:
· Rescuing people trapped in difficult high or deep places such as mines, storm-water drains, cliffs, scaffolding and remote places.
· Rescuing people involved in industrial, traffic, railway and aircraft accidents or who may have become trapped in household equipment, machinery or playground equipment.
· Providing power or lighting in emergencies or for police operations
· Rescuing livestock and animals in accidents
· Working in toxic or hazardous environments
In addition to all of the above, the Rescue Unit also provides support to general police operations and general advice on proposed safety and rescue plans to private industry.