Fresh faced cadets aged 14 to 18 from as far south as Bridgetown came to Broome to test their newly learnt skills in a blind rescue exercise recently. The 26 cadets are part of the DFES Youth in Emergency Services program with a number of cadets coming from the newly established cadet program in Kununurra and Broome. The exercise, which ran on October 5, required the cadets to rescue “injured backpackers” from a pretend car crash near Gantheaume Point. Cadets also had to search nearby scrubland for any missing backpackers, make sure the area was safe, extinguish any fires and stabilise the victims for transport to an awaiting ambulance. Kununurra YES Program cadet Hannah Tompkins said she enjoyed learning new skills during her training and putting them to use in the exercise. “I’ve been expanding on my skills in first aid and learning a lot about the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and the State Emergency Service,” she said. “We’ve been learning a lot about policing which is good because I didn’t know a lot about that and when I’m old enough I want to volunteer for the SES, VFRS or the Bush Fire Service.” Employed last October to establish the cadet program in the Kimberley, DFES WA Youth Programs Kimberley officer Elise Nelson said it was a great opportunity that gave cadets a broad range of experience working with the different emergency services. “Our cadet units in Kununurra and Broome were operational by March this year and the cadets have been training once a week since then,” she said. “The cadets love it and it’s something really engaging for kids who might not necessarily be into sport or some of the more common out of school activities,” she said. “Then once they turn 18 they have the skills to transition straight into becoming an adult volunteer.” The multi-agency exercise was overseen by DFES staff, Broome VFRS, Broome Regional Bushfire Brigade, Broome SES, WA Police and St John Ambulance. Addressing the cadets before the exercise, DFES WA Commissioner Darren Klemm said it would be interesting to see how the cadets dealt with the various challenges put in front of them during the exercise. “It hopefully will be the start of a long career as a volunteer,” he said. “Volunteering is not just about you, it’s about serving your local community wherever it happens to be in Australia. “You don’t get paid for it but you get that warm feeling in the pit of your stomach when you help out somebody in your local community in what is usually the most difficult and challenging time in their lives.” The exercise was part of the first DFES Senior Cadet Leadership Camp in Broome that ran from October 2 to 6.