by Jude Timms
The Australian National Maritime Museum in collaboration with Scitech in Perth, Western Australia is proud to announce its latest exhibition – Rescue – opening on 16 March 2013.
Enjoy virtual jet ski at Rescue
Navigating through choppy swell, communicating under thunderous chopper blades, squinting through the glare of the midday sun bouncing off the ocean... do you have what it takes to be a hero?
This interactive and engaging exhibition gives families the opportunity to experience and react to high-pressure rescue-based scenarios where people’s lives are potentially at stake in land, sea and air rescues.
Rescue illustrates the technology used in search and rescue operations, plus acknowledges the vital skills that rescuers bring to each scenario via a range of interactive science exhibits.
Museum visitors can take part in ‘rescues’ as either the rescuer or casualty. By putting themselves in both positions they can learn how rescue technology works and also how the skills and experience of talented rescuers assist people in peril.
'The nature of rescue is that it’s a very human endeavor, so this exhibition focuses on the personal aspect of rescuing people as well as revealing the technology and equipment that supports the process,' the Museum’s Director, Kevin Sumption explains.
The importance of teamwork and training, something all rescuers are very familiar with, is highlighted by challenging visitors to locate a missing person using the ‘Search Patterns’ exhibit or save someone from drowning in the ‘Wave Rescue’ and Escape the Rip’ exhibits.
The State Emergency Service (WA) has provided information on realistic scenarios, lost person behaviour and the distances searchers cover, whilst Surf Lifesaving (WA) provided advice on what rips look like and how they behave as well as footage and photos of real rescues.
An exhibit which will appeal to all is the full-size helicopter simulator in which visitors can take the controls and get a bird’s eye view of a rescue scene.
Helicopter at Rescue
The helicopter incorporates some of the tools and technology involved in reaching people in distant or inaccessible places, such as infrared cameras to look for heat signals.
Other interactive exhibits include: escaping a smoke-filled room and testing different fire extinguishers on simulated fires, climbing aboard a life raft when lost at sea, navigating a jet ski for surf lifesaving and trying on various uniforms in the ‘You Can Be A Rescuer’
Then there is the ‘What To Pack’ challenge, where the visitor has to choose which items to take on a rescue search, depending on the scenario and environment, and the ‘Read the News’ exhibit which illustrates how the media plays a crucial role in informing the public when disaster strikes.
Dress up like a real-life rescue volunteers at Rescue
Recent natural disasters such as the 2009 Black Saturday fires and 2011 Queensland floods are strong reminders that rescues would be impossible without the brave people who perform them.
With just under 24,000 people isolated in New South Wales from the recent flood and storm events in January, NSW SES volunteers responded to over 4,000 requests for assistance from communities on the NSW eastern seaboard.
Surf Life Saving in NSW performed over 8,000 rescues and more than 190,000 preventative actions on our beaches and coastlines, whilst the Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated the rescue of over 2600 people in distress at sea during FY 2011-12.
Rescue is suitable for all ages and opens at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 16 March and runs until 14 July 2013 and is included in the museum’s Big Ticket - $25 adult, $15 child, $65 family.