Cessnock District Rescue Squad snake removal technology

TECHNOLOGY: Cessnock District Rescue Squad volunteers James Harris and Chris Madgwick demonstrate the use of the Snap-On videoscope, which the squad uses to locate snakes. Picture: Krystal Sellars
TECHNOLOGY: Cessnock District Rescue Squad volunteers James Harris and Chris Madgwick demonstrate the use of the Snap-On videoscope, which the squad uses to locate snakes. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Cessnock District Rescue Squad attends an average of 30 callouts a month for snake removal during spring and summer.

But sometimes snakes aren’t the easiest things to find – they can crawl into the narrowest, and darkest, of spaces.

On Tuesday last week the squad used its Snap-On videoscope to assist in the removal of a red-bellied black snake on a property at Paxton.

The videoscope has a small tube with an eyepiece that projects vision back to a hand-held screen.

It is one of many pieces of vital equipment the volunteer organisation has been able to buy thanks to funds raised by the local community.

The squad has owned the videoscope for a while, and it had been used for jobs such as helping stuck children or animals.

“Anywhere we can’t see or get to, we’ll use it,” rescue squad vice-president Chris Madgwick said.

The snake was seen slithering through a drain that was covered in rubble.

“It kept shoving its head up and down, so we thought we’d give that (the videoscope) a go,” Mr Madgwick said.

The snake was found, then captured and released into bushland.

Snake removals have kept the squad busy this summer – on their busiest day volunteers attended seven snake callouts.

Some of the snakes were found close to town; one red-belly was found in the main street of Cessnock.

Many people who call for snake removal do so because they are concerned about the safety of their children or animals.

“Snakes don’t want to hurt you – they just want to get away from you, as soon as you get out of their space,” Mr Madgwick said.

Snake removals are among a long list of incidents the Cessnock District Rescue Squad attends.

Volunteers assist at everything from car accidents, vertical rescues and missing persons searches, to helping trapped animals or children with stuck in hard-to-reach places.

“Once the pager goes off and you hear the tones you think, what am I going to this time?” Mr Madgwick said.

Sometimes it will be tragic; other times more light-hearted (a child with his head stuck in a toilet training seat was one of the more unusual callouts they have attended in recent years).

The organisation thrives on community spirit and friendship.

“It’s the enjoyment of helping people and giving something back to the community,” Mr Madgwick said.

“We’ve made a lot of good friends over the years.”

To find out more about the rescue squad, call 4991 2444, or find ‘Cessnock District Rescue Squad’ on Facebook.