Response teams hone skills at plant pest training day

An emergency plant pest outbreak was simulated in a training exercise for staff from Central West Local Land Services at the Trangie Research Centre last week.

Emergency management field training exercises are undertaken from time-to-time to train staff in response actions which can then be put into practice should an actual plant pest outbreak occur in the region.

Organiser of the event NSW DPI Emergency Management Training Officer Alicia Whiley said staff were given a scenario based on a plant pest incursion and implemented a response, with support from the local NSW DPI Plant Biosecurity team.

“The day involved a briefing on the scenario and forming into an incident management team including an incident controller, operations officer, planning officer, logistics officer and so on to respond to the situation,” Ms Whiley said.

“The team had to try and get ahead of the outbreak by performing tracing, surveillance, compliance and look into scaling up the response if it escalated.

“They did really well.

“They traced brilliantly and identified the high-risk areas early on.

“They also took on roles outside of their comfort zone and communicated well throughout the exercise which is critical to successful emergency management.”

Field staff from the Trangie Research Centre took on roles of community members and farmers trying to enter the site and DPI Plant Biosecurity staff were in the room to help mentor exercise participants.

“One of the additional outcomes from the day was the building and strengthening of relationships between staff from the different organisations,” Ms Whiley said.

“Exotic plant pests are things like beetles or bugs/worms that could threaten agriculture, horticulture and viticulture within the region and fortunately don't currently exist in Australia.

“Agencies working together, maintaining good relationships and training our staff will help us be prepared should we experience an emergency plant pest outbreak in the Central West.”

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