16 - 18 Feb 2022

First Responders Conference - Melbourne

QRC: 4226
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Why Attend

First responders are on the front line, dealing with life, death and trauma daily. From emergencies in your suburb to the most remote areas, you play a crucial role in our community. Attend this new conference to connect with your colleagues and learn about:

  • Going back to basics with essential components of the primary survey
  • Responding to acute mental health presentations
  • How to assess for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Managing drug overdoses
  • Recognising mental health issues in first responders
  • An opportunity to network amongst your peers and much more…

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to attend this new event. Book now!

Discount avaliable for Emergency Service Volunteers! Use code VOLUNTEER when registering.*

* On the day of the event you will be required to provide evidence of your volunteer status.


8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Jeff Kenneally

Freaky Friday – A Day in the Life of a First Responder

Between 2017 and 2018, ESTA dispatched over 2.1 million events that were responded to by first responders from Victoria’s various emergency services. This opening session will look at a day in the life of a first responder. It includes:

  • What was your best and worst memory of being a first responder?
  • What are the daily challenges faced by first responders?
  • What do we have to know about the changes in CPD for first responders?
  • What is your message for new first responders?
Jeff Kenneally

Back to Basics: Essential Components of the Primary Survey

The initial assessment and management of a person who has suffered trauma are critical to their outcome and recovery. This session will discuss the rapid systematic primary survey, which is based on established frameworks. Case scenarios will be used to demonstrate actions within different contexts. It includes:

  • Cervical spine stabilisation
  • Type of trauma, danger and response
  • A – Airway
  • B – Breathing and oxygenation
  • C – Circulation and bleeding
  • D – Disability and delegating tasks
11:00 Morning Tea

Beck Gardner

Penetrating Trauma

Penetrating injuries and lacerations are some of the most graphic injuries you may encounter, and they may present as anything from a stab wound to evisceration. In this session, we will discuss:

  • How can we assess for additional injuries secondary to penetrating trauma?
  • Direct pressure v tourniquets – when and how do we use them?
  • What are the special considerations for specific penetrating trauma, e.g. neck or spinal penetrating injuries or evisceration?
12:15 Lunch and Networking

Jeff Kenneally

Managing Severe Burns

Severe burns (>20% TBSA burns, high voltage electrical injury (>1000 volts) or inhalation injury with or without dermal injury) require immediate treatment to minimise injury and prevent mortality. This session will discuss the latest updates in managing severe burns. It includes:

  • In what way can we effectively manage pain in severe burn patients?
  • When is intraosseous access needed in treating a burn patient?
  • How can we treat a suspected airway burn?
Ella Smith

Opioid Overdose – Assessment, Treatment and the Bigger Picture

Opioids are widely prescribed, frequently administered by nurses and commonly used in the community. These medicines and drugs such as morphine, heroin and oxycodone have huge potential to cause significant harm. Because of the action of these substances and their capacity for respiratory depression, both prescription and illicit opioids are being implicated in a large and rising number of fatal overdoses. This session will cover the following:

  • Why people may use opioids
  • The signs and symptoms of opioid overdose
  • How to assess and treat an opioid overdose
  • The guidelines for the administration of naloxone
  • How to prevent an opioid overdose – safe practises and harm minimisation
  • Opioid replacement therapy options (suboxone and methadone)
3:00 Afternoon Tea


When the Dust Settles – Mental Health Issues in First Responders

First responders are exposed to traumatic events on a daily basis and, because of this, they are at a high risk of developing mental health issues. This session will discuss:

  • What is vicarious trauma?
  • What are some examples of maladaptive coping mechanisms?
  • Is there a way to prevent or reduce mental health issue rates in first responders?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Narelle Fraser

It Isn't a Crime to be Stressed: The Lived Experiences of a Former Victorian Police Officer

First responders, including police officers, are witnesses to the best and worst of humanity. This session will showcase the career of Narelle Fraser, a former Victorian police officer. It includes a case study. Learn:

  • What were the challenges of being a police officer?
  • What was Narelle’s most memorable case?
  • How did Narelle deal with work-related stress?
  • What did Narelle love about her job?
  • What advice does Narelle have for first responders?

Note: There will be a 10-minute break at 10.00 am

11:00 Morning Tea

Amanda Wynne

Mandatory Reporting – Your Responsibility

There are several mandatory reporting requirements that affect all first responders. This session will encourage you to consider the implications of mandatory reporting for your role as a first responder. It includes:

  • What is mandatory reporting?
  • Do you know what your responsibilities are?
  • What should you do if you suspect abuse or neglect within the workplace, including for civilians, patients and colleagues?
Louise Alexander

Acute Mental Health Examination: For All First Responders

It is essential that all first responders have the knowledge, skills and confidence to perform an acute mental health examination. This practical session will draw on relevant case studies to demonstrate how to assess an acutely unwell person with a mental health disorder. It includes:

  • What are the basic principles of a mental health examination when someone is acutely unwell?
  • What is distress and what clinical situations can this be seen in?
  • Caring during a crisis – what do we need to say, do and know, to support a person?
1:15 Lunch and Networking

John O'Neil

De-Escalating Aggression and Violence

Unfortunately, aggression and violence towards first responders are increasing. Patients may behave erratically as a result of their condition, and you may be the first person that faces this stressed and aggressive person. In order to keep yourself safe, it is very important that you are aware of the skills needed to de-escalate a situation and reduce a person’s level of agitation and aggression. This session explores methods and insights that help to prevent workplace aggression. It includes:

  • How can you deal with aggression?
  • What strategies are useful to de-escalate aggression?
  • The use of language and body language – what matters?
  • How can you reduce potential harm to yourself and others?
  • Who can you seek help from if exposed to danger?
3:00 Afternoon Tea

Jeff Kenneally

Pink Blood? Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – A Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas, which means it can be inhaled without people realising. This invisible substance is linked to preventable mortalities related to the use of gas appliances that can be significant sources of carbon monoxide. This session considers:

  • Prevention first – the importance of awareness and safety
  • Who may be particularly susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Common causes of accidental and non-accidental exposure
  • The clinical features of mild, acute and chronic carbon monoxide poisoning
  • The immediate first-aid required
  • An overview of management principles including resuscitation
4:30 Close of Conference and Evaluations


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John O'Neil

Pro-Com founder John O’Neil presents from a military and policing background. Of his 26 years with State and Federal police John spent most of his time in the field of Police Hostage Negotiation, critical incident management and protection. Holding a Counter terrorism negotiator qualification since 1996, John has been fortunate enough to have trained with negotiator personnel from the FBI Academy and Scotland Yard and as a visitor to LAPD SWAT negotiator unit and Department of Homeland Security Training facility as well as working with negotiator units all around Australia. In addition to his work in crisis negotiation John was involved in critical incident management, helping to set up the critical incident response team (CIRT) for Victoria Police as well as spending many years in close personal protection. John has had the privilege of working alongside international counterparts protecting visiting dignitaries such as her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Director CIA and Prime Ministers and Premiers. His later career has seen John operating as an air security officer (air marshal) and ASO instructor. Prior to resigning from the AFP, he spent four years in the field of behavioral detection, training with UK leaders Profile Aware and Israeli predictive profiling specialists before working with police at airports all around the country assisting to identify criminal behavior and intent. John has surrounded himself with people possessing specialized skill sets to form Pro-Com who now bring this experience privately to Government and the corporate sector and pride themselves in in developing safety and capability in front line staff across many industries. A recent example of this was in training more than 4200 paramedics for Ambulance Victoria resulting in a reduction in assaults of more than 50% in just 12 months. Pro-Com not only provides training but assists organizations in reviewing and developing operational safety and security policy extending into physical security operations and target hardening including active armed offender protocols for clients such as City of Melbourne, Metro Trains, Taxi Service Commission, TT-Line Shipping, Crown resorts, the AFL nationally and around 20 hospitals across the state.

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Beck Gardner

Beck Gardner is an emergency nurse practitioner who works at both Austin and Alfred Health. She started her nurse practitioner career in 2011 as a candidate at Austin Health. She completed her masters of advanced nursing in 2008 at the University of Newcastle and prior to this she completed her diploma and certificate of Critical Care in 2005 at Alfred Health and LaTrobe University. She completed her undergraduate nursing degree at LaTrobe University in Bendigo 2002 and completed her graduate year at Alfred Health on 4 East in 2003. Her emergency career began in 2004 at the Alfred in the Emergency and Trauma Centre. Beck is passionate about emergency nursing, the ongoing development of the nurse practitioner role and education. She has regularly presented at local, national and international conferences.

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Jeff Kenneally

Jeff Kenneally has a lifelong commitment to pre-hospital care, having served as an operational paramedic for 34 years, mostly in intensive care roles. He has managed frontline paramedic teams, commanded major events, mentored, educated and worked in communications dispatch centres and at the ambulance air wing. His roles have taken him to rural and metropolitan areas. For four years, Jeff managed the Ambulance Victoria clinical practice guidelines. In recent years, Jeff has turned to university lecturing for paramedic students, including leading international study tours. He is a published author in pre-hospital practice and contributor to numerous major textbooks. In 2018, Jeff was awarded the Ambulance Service Medal in recognition of his contribution.

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Narelle Fraser

Narelle was a member of Victoria Police for 27 years, 15 of those as a detective with homicide, rape, sex crimes, missing persons and child exploitation squads, specialising in sex offences and child abuse. She has been involved in many high profile investigations. In 2012 Narelle was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) & was never able to return to Policing, however she overcame many adversities to become an accidental mental health advocate & keynote speaker on the challenges of first responders who face trauma & grief on a daily basis. Narelle shares the signs of stress she ignored, hoping they would magically disappear. Instead of disappearing, they increased to the point she couldn’t continue in the career she loved. The stigma of mental illness is alive & well in our community & Narelle’s hope is to help in ‘normalising’ rather than stigmatising, mental illness.

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Louise Alexander

Dr Louise Alexander is a mental health nursing academic at Australian Catholic University (ACU) teaching in both undergraduate and post-graduate programs. Louise has a background in forensic mental health nursing in acute, subacute and rehabilitation areas, and an interest in perceptions of dangerousness and stigma. Louise’s research has focused on the use of simulation within the mental health context and has published in several peer-reviewed journals on this topic and presented her findings at both a national, and international level. As part of her post-doctoral research, Louise is also employed as an early career researcher within the North Western Mental Health/ACU Academic Nursing Research Centre conducting research in a variety of important areas of mental health nursing. Recently Louise was a co-lead author of a first edition mental health nursing text, published in August 2019.

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To Be Determined

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Ella Smith

Ella is a Nurse Practitioner with the Addiction Medicine Consultation Liaison team at Western Health, working across Sunshine and Footscray Campuses. Previous experience has included working in the residential detox unit at Uniting Regen, Custodial nurse with Victoria Police and private practice ORT clinic in the Geelong region. Ella studied with the University of Melbourne to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health and a Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner). Ella is also a Pilates instructor and has a passion for getting people moving to improve their physical and mental health.

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Amanda Wynne

Amanda Wynne is a barrister at the Victorian Bar whose practice includes family law, child abuse, family violence, mental health, health profession disciplinary panels, coronial inquests, victims of crime, and guardianship and administration regarding the elderly. Amanda also holds nursing qualifications and is an experienced general nurse, midwife, and maternal and child health nurse, last practising in May 2009. She regularly presents pertinent legal seminars to the healthcare profession.

Need for Program

The opportunity for first responders to improve health outcomes through proactive assessment and correct management relies on sound knowledge of the latest evidence. Education that is specifically tailored to first responders is crucial if morbidity, mortality and permanent disability rates are to be minimised. This timely conference provides an opportunity for first responders to gain evidenced updates.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to improve the health outcomes of people who are treated by first responders by preparing them for a wide array of situations so they can properly assess and manage all types of injuries and situations.

Your learning outcomes

  • Provide pre-hospital emergency care that is aligned with current standards and well-researched practices
  • Minimise complications through improved assessment and management
  • Improve health outcomes by implementing evidence-based knowledge for managing a range of emergencies
  • Be resilient and cope better with stress in today’s workplace
16 - 18 Feb 2022

First Responders Conference - Melbourne

QRC: 4226
Oaks On Collins
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Price: $759.00