Liontown and Gold Fields Agnew unite to put emergency response skills into action

SMERC 2024

Following an invitation to Liontown’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) from Gold Fields Agnew to compete in the 2024 CME Surface Mine Emergency Rescue Competition (SMERC), Liontown Geology Technician, Linda Voravong, jumped at the chance.

The competition was held from 29 – 30 June at Greenfields Mill, east of Coolgardie. During the two-day event, eight teams competed in the challenges involving firefighting, vehicle extrication, search and rescue, breathing apparatus skills, theory, team skills, rope rescue, overall first aid and incident management. It’s an opportunity for local emergency response crews to sharpen their skills, with many of the scenarios based on real-life incidents.

“To say that it was an amazing opportunity to compete with Goldfields Agnew at the SMERC Competition would be an understatement,” Linda said. “Using the skills I learned from my training in challenges based on real-life emergency scenarios was an awesome experience and enabled me to grow to help our team at Kathleen Valley.”

It was a challenging but rewarding weekend and Agnew were great to partner with for the competition. “All the late-night study sessions and long days with our firefighting equipment on paid off in the end and I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” Linda added.

Linda’s high achievements in the competition reflected the quality of the training undertaken each week at Kathleen Valley. “We placed third overall, were announced Best New Team, and got a fair few more firsts and seconds under our belts, which we were absolutely stoked for,” Linda shared.

“It was a fantastic weekend full of laughs, tears, mud, and triage. Agnew were absolute legends and I know they had just as much fun as I did. We were completely covered in mud and sweat for most of it, but that never stopped our enthusiasm and high energy for the comp.”

Congratulations to Linda and the Agnew team for the outstanding performance. Having team members with the emergency response skills that were demonstrated during the competition are vital to ensuring a safe work environment for not only our own site but for our neighbours in the region.

Liontown’s volunteer ERT at Kathleen Valley undertakes weekly training exercises to ensure they’re equipped to respond in a variety of emergency situations. They can also be called upon to assist neighbouring mines.

Liontown Work Health & Safety Manager, Hayden Spencer, is proud of how the team has grown. “Our ERT was first established in February 2023 after our first full ERT course was held in Perth in January 2023,” Hayden said. “While we have had volunteers change over time, we have grown the team and have 46 emergency responders on site, including full-time response personnel. Having 46 members is what most mine sites dream of and is a testament to the commitment and quality of our ERT members.”