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Army June 23, 2011
Tasmania is continuing
to help the people of East
Timor long after he finished
his deployment there in 2008.
Sgt Oliver Breeze is an instructor
with the Adelaide Universities Regt
Tasmania Coy based in Launceston.
In his civilian job he's a regional
officer for the State Emergency Service
During his working week he attends
road accidents, helping extract injured
"While I was deployed to East
Timor between April-July 2008 as a
movement operator, I had the opportu-
nity to visit the local fire brigade depots
to see how they operated," Sgt Breeze
"I noticed they didn't have any road
crash equipment, other than crowbars,
to assist with the extraction of injured
Sgt Breeze's research identified
the need for a professional road rescue
capability and the establishment of
training for up to 60 members of the
Opening jaws and wallets
East Timor fire brigade (Bombeiros).
After he returned to Australia, he
met with another Tasmanian emergency
services member, paramedic Matthew
Buck, and decided to do something to
help the Bombeiros.
"We got together 16 months ago
and decided to form a private interna-
tional charity called Operation Rescue
Assist Timor-Leste," Sgt Breeze said.
"On June 30 our team of five will
travel to Dili and take with us road
accident rescue jaws of life equipment
worth more than $50,000."
The team comprises an SES officer,
fire fighter, paramedic, police officer
and an East Timorese woman studying
nursing in Tasmania, who will act as
an interpreter for the trip. The purchase
and donation of the equipment was the
result of hard work by the charity in
fundraising and approaching equipment
manufacturers and suppliers.
Gifting the equipment to the East
Timorese organisation is not the only
assistance the charity will provide.
"We are also going to run an eight-
day training course on how to use the
jaws of life equipment for 12 of the
Bombeiros personnel in Dili from July
1-8," Sgt Breeze said. "As part of our
plan we would also like to provide sup-
port in some way to them for up to 10
The charity has other projects in the
pipeline to help the Bombeiros improve
equipment, training and emergency
"Our ultimate goal is to increase
their capability by helping provide a
similar rescue standard to what we have
here in Australia," Sgt Breeze said.
"Next year we'd like to donate to them
a secondhand fire truck and another set
of rescue tools."
He said the Bombeiros were thrilled
after finding out about the equipment
donation and training.
"They are ecstatic. They haven't
even seen the equipment yet and when
they get it they'll think it's Christmas."
Operation Rescue Assist Timor-
Leste's work is conducted during the
committee members' spare time and
funded mostly by donations.
However, for their upcoming visit
to East Timor, Sgt Breeze and the other
charity members had to open their own
wallets to get them there.
"For all of us to get there it will cost
more than $6500 and because we are
waiting for donations we've had to put
$4000 of the trip on our own personal
credit cards," Sgt Breeze said.
It would be an understatement to
suggest he and his team are eager to
help their East Timorese counterparts.
"Serving in East Timor was the
highlight of my Army career and I'm
thrilled to go back there and use my
civilian skills to train colleagues to per-
form rescues to the same capability as
what we do in Tasmania."
Military personnel, including
reservists, must gain approval to travel
to a deployed location on personal time
and submit an AB644 Notification of
Proposed Overseas Travel when plan-
ning a personal trip.
• To make a donation to Operation Rescue
Assist Timor-Leste, contact Oliver Breeze on
0418 121 845 or email oliver.breeze@ses.
• Donations can also be made via funds trans-
fer to National Australia Bank account name
Operation Rescue Assist Timor-Leste, BSB
087728, account number 19 644-8826.
an ARes sergeant
putting his money
where his jaws are to
raise rescue standards
in East Timor
Op Rescue Assist members: From left, Betty Goncalves (interpreter), Andrew Pitt (fire officer), Matthew Buck
(paramedic), Damon Smith (police officer) and Sgt Oliver Breeze with some of the rescue equipment they are
donating to East Timor.
Photo Paul Scambler, The Examiner
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