Controlled Roll – Car vs Tree

In late December 2017, my three guests were called to an accident, as a car vs a tree. While, this is not unusual, what unfolded at the job is.

My guests are Chris Rogers, Shane Price and Crispin O’Neil who, between them, have about 50 years of rescue experience.

Along with about a dozen other first responders, they had the task of extricating a casualty who unfortunately remained trapped for over 2 hours.

Inherently with the job of rescue we all know that on rare occasions, long jobs (although inevitable) are usually uncommon. This job was particularly difficult, drawn out and unusual; because the final avenue for a successful extrication was to undertake a controlled roll of the vehicle… with not just the casualty remaining pinned but also other personnel still inside.

Strangely enough, it’s a job that didn’t receive any media attention, so consider this an exclusive.

As mentioned, the primary rescue unit involved in this job is the Pakenham Road Rescue Unit, comprising of Pakenham SES and Nar Nar Goon CFA. Dandenong CFA also attended with their rescue appliance as well.

Check out the photos and enjoy hearing this unique rescue experience!


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Photos Source: Supplied

Kelvin Wise

 In this episode we hear from Kelvin Wise, who is a Regional Emergency Management Officer (REMO) in Central West NSW for NSW Police.

It’s not the usual podcast with a featured rescue story, but instead it’s important all the same.

This time you’ll hear the flip side of rescue in the area of planning and preparation from the side of large-scale state and region based emergency management for a very large part of rural Australia.

Without spoiling his story too much, Kel has years of experience on the tools prior to going in to his roles of emergency management. Kel’s experience is not just on paper, but practically having worked over several jurisdictions and different organisations.

One of the “fun things” that Kel does in his role as a REMO is planning exercises for groups, not only as a table top events but as hands-on events in the field. One of the most recent multi-agency scenarios happened at the Dubbo airport to test the capability of the local emergency services. You can read a little more about it here.

I hope you get a lot of this podcast and learn a few new things, to think differently about your area of response.

Lachlan Lansdown

 This episode we speak to a remarkable lifeguard Lachlan Lansdown, 22, who was awarded the Australian Surf Lifesaver’s rescue of the month, during late December 2017.

Originally from Melbourne, Lansdown is World Paddleboard champion who works at Queensland’s Noosa beaches as a Life Guard, on standby to rescue those in need.

In this episode he shares the story of how he was showing a new life saver around their patch during their first shift, when by chance he saw some swimmers caught in a rip and jokingly said “We may have a job here”. As it turned out, this happened to be a very serious situation where nearly half a dozen swimmers needed rescuing, with Lachlan bringing in an unconscious swimmer. This team effort by all involved is a story not to be missed.

At just 14, Lachlan got his “surf rescue certificate” and started patrolling Noosa beach. At 15 he obtained his Bronze Medallion for surf life saving and volunteer patrols. At only the age of 18 did he became a paid professional lifeguard where he was based on the Northern Sunshine Coast.

He also continued volunteer patrols, but at only 20 he was a “Patrol Captain” put charge of a patrol of 10 people.

Our story picks up at the end of last season 2018 when he transferred to “Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club”. Over Christmas he was rostered to work everyday as a professional lifeguard. His only day off was Christmas Eve.

 fenna de king
Image Source: Fenna de King

On Christmas Eve he was on a volunteer patrol at Sunshine beach when the incident happened.

Regarding his paddleboard career, he is the holder of 6 gold medals from the ISA World Paddleboard Championship from events in Fiji, Mexico and Denmark, and is known as one of the best paddle boarders in the world at the moment.

 Photo Source

This is not the first time that Lachlan has been in the newspapers for rescues. At the age of 15, himself and another friend pulled a woman from the water. Another job we mentioned during the podcast was one of Lachie’s first big rescue events with a car crash in the main street of Noosa.

Rescue seems to run in the family. His father is Trevor Lansdown whom was interviewed on the Australian Rescue Podcast.

Trevor Lansdown – Ash Wednesday

In this episode of the ARP, we’ll be hearing stories from Trevor Landsdown, who fought in the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Australia, in 1983.

It’s a bit longer of an episode than usual and we spoke about many different topics, of fire, rescue, PTSD, local folklore and a general catch up with a guy who has been in the emergency services for a very long time.

Trevor shares about that fateful day, of what it was like fighting the fires as a young firefighter and his role and actions on that day.

Some memorable moments in the podcast, are of hearing his account of the fire passing over them, and waiting to hear how his dad survived, who was only just a short distance away. 

We also touched on the progression of technology and methods of how things are now, compared to those earlier days, and mentioned the introduction of AIIMS in to Australia.

There were so many different topics, and this post won’t do them justice, so I have linked items to events, locations and the mentions of people in the podcast. It’s a big list, but is not comprehensive.


Some of the fires we spoke of:

  • January 1939 – Black Friday fires
  • January 1944 – Fires with ran up Main Street of Pakenham where 4 houses lost.
  • January 1983 – Ash Wednesday Bushfires
  • February 2009 – Black Saturday Bushfires


This image depicts the fires of Ash Wednesday, in 1983.

 The area that was destroyed by the fire in Upper Beaconsfield. Image source


Some of the people mentioned:

Janet King – looking after radio traffic in Pakenham fire station.

Brian Lewis – a fellow fire fighter.

Rev. Bruce Monro – a local Uniting church minister in Pakenham (1989-1999) , and fellow rescuer at Pakenham SES.

 Photo Source: Ray Seakins (Left) and Rev. Bruce Monro (right).

Robert Veenstra – a Pakenham firefighter.

Ron Kraan – water tank truck driver.

Edward Lowen – Nar Nar Goon fire fighter (desc. in the fire)

Keith Rawson – car garage workshop owner and member of Officer Fire Brigade

Ivan Smith – Was the Pakenham Group Officer in charge of the Upper Beaconsfield and Cockatoo Fires. While doing that, was fighting fires outside the building they were in at the Upper Beaconsfield HQ – to stop it from burning down. During the 2009 Black Saturday fires, we was also an Incident Controller of the Bunyip State Park fire, which was at the Pakenham ICC. During the 1983 Fires, the ICC was moved to Pakenham. He also helped in the adoption of the AIIMS system in Australia.

 Photo Source:

Bradley Waterhouse  (1972-2017)

A firefighter who became the face of the Black Saturday bushfires.

Brad with his father Kieth Waterhouse





Ronald Webster (1922 – 2010)

A firefighter who became the face of the Ash Wednesday bushfires.  Read Ran’s story


Photo source


Photo source


Rae Webster – Ran’s wife.





In Australia, the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) is the nationally recognised [1] system of incident management for the nation’s fire and emergency service agencies.[2] Organisational principles and structure are used to manage bushfires and other large emergencies (e.g. floods, storms, cyclones etc.) utilising the all agencies approach. AIIMS was first developed in the 1980s as a derivative of the United States’ NIIMS, and is based on the principles of management by objectives, functional management and span of control. AIIMS is a trademark of AFAC and the material in the AIIMS manual and training materials is copyright of AFAC. ( Wikipedia )

Download a document on AIIMS.



Director: Harry Sanna of the documentary movie Trauma

In 2011, Journalist and Director Harry Sanna was embedded with a Blackhawk medevac unit in Afghanistan. Living for several weeks with the unit, he captured unprecedented and unfiltered access to the rush and chaos of their mission. After the completion of their deployment, Sanna followed the team members home, recording their lives and thoughts in the years since their return with an intimacy and access only afforded to a member of the unit.

This is an extraordinary interview, where Harry shares what it was like working with this medic unit and shares in more detail some of the things he saw and experienced, not only from the perspective of the medic unit, but also on a personal level as well.

We touch on many different topics in this interview, ranging from the military, evacuations, PTSD, combat safety, and also what it’s like for veterans after they return.

It’s a very different type of rescue, whereby we hear it from not only a journalist, but getting to hear about medical rescues in a combat situation.

Movie Trailer

Harry on “The Project”, as aired on Channel 10 on Feb 12, 2018

Another Interview

Harry was also interviewed on the Medic2Medic Podcast for Episode 135. While we tried to focus more on Harry’s experiences and take-aways from his time in the medevac unit, in this other interview you’ll hear a different side and learn more about the movie of how it came to be and some other back stories, where Producer Ryan Cumminham and Director Harry give different insights. It’s also worth listening to as well.

Listen to the audio
Hear other episodes at themedic2medicpodcast

You can purchase the film at major movie distributors, like iTunes and Amazon or at the website.

It’s a great interview in this episode of the Australian Rescue Podcast and we hope you like it.

Flood Boat Rescue on Albert River, QLD

Taken just after their flood boat rescue

In this episode of the Australian Rescue Podcast, we are going to hear the harrowing story  from QLDSES crew members Chris Holloway, Claire Browning and Jim Ferguson who rescued a family from the roof of their house during the April floods of 2017 south of Brisbane.

It was very early in the morning (3am) when the crew got the call to go and assist a family trapped on a roof somewhere along the Albert River in the Logan region. They were told that “there was no-one else available” to do the job.

It’s a great story of mateship, endurance and of rescue that they won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

These three QLDSES members still regularly train and still go out and do jobs together, but this episode’s chat was probably the first time they’ve all had a chance to sit down and discuss the job at length. 

After the event happened, the quiet achievers were presented with bravery awards from the Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey.

The rescued family was waiting in their house for the crew to arrive. About 10-15 minutes after being brought safety on the shore, the house broke from it’s foundations and floated down the river, as shown the in the (external) video as shown below.

 The family was sitting on the roof of this house before it floated away.


Watch the video of the house floating away and breaking up (on the ABC News Australia website) (* minor language warning)


Gary Raymond Part 2

People were going about their normal everyday lives, heading in to the city from the Blue Mountains, on their way to Sydney when disaster struck.

Unknown to all those involved, this was never going to be a normal day, a day that would have lasting consequences.

41 years ago today, on January 18th 1977,  the Granville Train Disaster happened, killing 83 and injuring 213.


Last time on the Australian Rescue Podcast, we didn’t have enough time to hear all of Gary Raymond‘s story. In this episode we continue his story and memories from the Granville Train Disaster.

If you missed part one, go back and have a listen to it first for some good background.

In this episode we’ll hear more info about what the conditions of the search and also a real fascinating insight in to what it’s like catching up with survivors.

One of people in the story Gary connected with was Debbie, and you can read more about her story here.
Gary at the memorial site in Granville.

As per the last episode, Gary shares even more of his Christian faith, but as per the previous episode, but as mentioned in the first part of this interview it’s Gary’s story so it’s important to leave it in there, given the fact that he’s also a Chaplain as well.

Even though Gary is very busy, he’s also a Chaplain and therefore has all the time in the world if you need.


If you’d like to contact him, you can do so at his Facebook page via a direct message.

Gary has been to these significant jobs in the past:

• Hilton Hotel Terrorist Bombing – 3 dead & 7 wounded
• Luna Park Ghost Train Fire – 6 children and 1 adult dead
• Granville Train Disaster – 83 dead & 213 injured
• Christmas Day Savoy Hotel Fire, Kings Cross – 15 dead
• Pacific Heights Nursing Home Fire – 16 dead
• Newcastle Earthquake –13 dead & 162 injured & 500,000 buildings damaged
• Sri Lankan Tsunami – 35,000 dead, 1 million homeless 
• Cyclone Larry in North Queensland – winds 200 kph – damage 1 billion dollars
• Thredbo Landslide Disaster – 18 dead – Stewart Diver rescued
• 1140 ton Manly ferry the ‘Collaroy’ ran aground and collided with cliff – 4 injured & 500 rescued from ferry
• Earthquake – Christchurch, New Zealand – 185 dead – 1500 injured

As Gary has been to so many jobs, do you have a favourite you’d like to hear from specifically? 

If you’ve enjoyed hearing these stories from Gary, you can read more stories in a series of books called “Top Cop” that were written by David Nicholas. These can all be purchased from good book stores. These images are linked to the products directly.






Gary Raymond Part 1

In this gripping episode of the Australian Rescue Podcast, we are in for a real treat. We will hear from Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d.) Dip.VET, a retired Police Officer in the Sydney Police force.

You will hear a range of topics, including a brief history of Gary’s life as a volunteer and a professional in first aid as an ambulance officer and in the NSW Police Rescue Squad.

Gary attended thousands of jobs in his career but for this episode we focused on the Granville Train Disaster.


The Granville rail disaster occurred on 18 January 1977 in the Sydney suburb of Granville, Australia. A crowded commuter train traveling from the Blue Mountains to Sydney Central derailed, running into the supports of a road bridge. The bridge came down onto two of the passenger carriages. At the time, 83 people died, more than 210 were injured and 1,300 were affected.

This was the worst rail disaster in Australian history based on loss of life and to this day, many people in the Blue Mountains community bear the scars of the crash.



Even though it was just over 40 years ago, Gary’s memory is still very sharp, and you’ll get to hear him recall details about it almost like it happened last week.

As well as technical details and historic themes, you’ll also hear snippets of how evident Gary’s faith is to him. It’s not scary to listen to, and I felt it important to include, as it helps to capture his story of where and how everything fitted together in his world – including rescue and his faith.

You’ll also hear joyful stories of how Gary has kept in contact with some of the people he has rescued and the outcomes that they have had in life too.

Gary is currently retired and not surprisingly given his story, is a Chaplain to the Police Force Post Trauma Support Groups NSW.

With the amount of stories and jobs he has been to, you won’t want to miss the next time we interview him.

People Mentioned by Gary:

Sgt. Willian ‘Bill’ Fehey

Sgt. Ray Tyson (facebook link)

We had a great chat about many things at the Granville Train Disaster so much, that it’s actually a 2 part show.

I hope you’ll come back for the second part as well.

Images from Blue Mountains City Library 

Preview of what to expect in 2018

There are big plans for this podcast, and the first episode is due in early 2018.

Hopefully you’ll keep in touch and follow us for new episodes as we talk to various rescuers all over Australia.

The first couple of episodes of the Australia Rescue Podcast will feature an absolute bumper of a story, where we’ll be hearing from Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d.) Dip.VET, an officer in the Sydney Police Rescue squad who attended the Granville Train Disaster 41 years ago. We will be hearing insights into the job like we’ve never heard before and some incredible stories of survival as a result of that job and how his life has gone from there.

Gary has a gift for story telling as as such, it’s going to be in two parts, because I couldn’t fit everything in to one show!

Here is a quick snippet of the interview of what you can expect.

Keep this site bookmarked and keep checking back for new episodes.