While we aim to provide a fun experience gliding high above the trees on the Arthurs Seat Eagle, we take our approach towards guest safety and comfort seriously. Therefore, our team are continually working on ways in which we can ensure we have the highest level of operational safety.
Each year we close for an annual maintenance shut down which allows us to conduct training exercises that we are unable to do while we have guests soaring… but regular training is also held monthly so that our crew can hone their skills and make sure they are at the ready should the unfortunate occur.
This week I sat down with our Eagle Rescue Co-ordinator, Tim, to find out more about the training they do.
Wedgie: Wow Tim, the crew all do so much training… why is it important?
Tim: Although the chance of a real-life evacuation ever being needed is extremely slim, we need to be fully prepared for all emergencies.
W: How often do you do this?
T: Every team member does a minimum of two field activities each year. This is supplemented by other skills acquisition and refresher training activities, both as simulated rescues in the field, in the garage and in an "in-house" online training program. These happen every alternate month throughout the year, depending on which role the team member plays. We also conduct a larger annual exercise with volunteers being rescued from the gondolas.
W: Do you train at different heights? Different towers? What is the highest you test at?
T: We test over most spans, other than those that could interfere with road traffic (ie tower 9 and 10). We tend to train in the most difficult terrain to test our systems and procedures. If they hold up in the worst conditions, then they should be valid in anything less demanding. The highest elevation that we train at is ~22m above ground, although visually, it can look a lot higher due to the steepness of the slope below us and of course looking out towards Port Phillip. At any time during training we are anywhere between ~70 and ~320m above sea level.
W: What other sorts of training do you do?
T: Because of the client base that is attracted to the lift, we train to evacuate all ages and all mobilities. This includes infants, wheelchair bound and even people requiring assistance animals. We have specialist equipment to suit the needs of most passengers at the Eagle. We train in both the day and the night and also with members of the CFA, SES, Police Search and Rescue and MFB.
W: Thanks so much Tim. It’s great to know that all our Eagle guests are in very safe hands when they soar with us.
The rescue crew shared some great photos with me, take a look at them below.
Also, on Saturday 31st August we will conduct a static evacuation exercise where up to 20 volunteers will be ‘rescued’ from the Eagle gondolas at height. Due to the nature of this training and the limited time available for the team to practice their skills, the Eagle asks that the public does not approach areas where the rescue team are at work.