Teaching essential skills

ADVANCED TREE FELLING: TAFE NSW teacher Richard Sears and NPWS field officer Josh Botten. Richard says specialised training in advanced chainsaw skills is essential for NPWS staff who work in our harsh conditions.
ADVANCED TREE FELLING: TAFE NSW teacher Richard Sears and NPWS field officer Josh Botten. Richard says specialised training in advanced chainsaw skills is essential for NPWS staff who work in our harsh conditions.

National Parks and Wildlife Service field officers will be better equipped to fight fires this bushfire season thanks to expert chainsaw training with TAFE NSW Dubbo.

Five NPWS officers from Dubbo, Griffith, and Tibooburra recently took part in an Advanced Tree Felling course to hone their skills before the threat of summer arrives.

"We play a big role during bushfires in our national parks, and it's important we have the skills to manage large trees such as eucalypts, which can be very volatile in a bushfire scenario," parks and wildlife service field officer Adam Watson said.

"When you are trying to maintain a containment line or keep an access road safe, sometimes you have no choice but to bring down a tree that is posing a serious hazard. The TAFE NSW training taught us the skills to quickly assess and fell those trees when the situation calls for it."

TAFE NSW training taught us the skills to assess and fell those trees when the situation calls for it

NPWS field officer Adam Watson

TAFE NSW chainsaw teacher Richard Sears said specialised training in advanced chainsaw skills was essential for NPWS staff who worked in our harsh Australian conditions.

"These officers often go in side-by-side with the Rural Fire Service and a big part of being able to keep our parks and people safe is to remove dangerous trees at a moment's notice," Mr Sears said.

"There could be trees that are going to break a containment line or trees that are going to fall across a road or damage assets such as park amenities or buildings.

"This is hazardous work and it needs focused, skilled operators on the end of the chainsaw. TAFE NSW has well-trained educators with high levels of industry experience who can teach these officers in a controlled, safe environment so they feel capable when the pressure is on." Adam said being well-trained and prepared was the only way to face a bushfire.

"No-one ever feels confident around a bushfire, but this course definitely helped us feel as confident as we can be," Adam said.

"It's a dangerous thing we do, and TAFE NSW did a great job of showing us how to get the job done while putting the safety of ourselves and our crew before everything."

TAFE NSW offers hundreds of courses for business and industry to upskill employees with specialised training.

Article courtesy TAFE NSW

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