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Volunteers play victims in mock disaster

News story

John Curtin Weekend volunteers will round out a month of community service by playing victims in a mock disaster simulated by emergency services in the surfing mecca of Margaret River.

Volunteer co-ordinator Jayde Kong said the 20 Student Housing residents and staff from Vickery House would marshal at the Curtin University flag poles at 3pm today and hit the road soon after.

“I’m going shopping soon for snacks and stuff we can eat on the bus,” Ms Kong said this morning.

The John Curtin Weekend volunteers will check into their backpackers’ accommodation tonight before helping the local emergency management committee with an important training exercise over the weekend.

Two volunteers act as victims in a mock disaster training exercise during a previous John Curtin Weekend.

Ms Kong, a second-year pharmacy student, said she would be observing the locals’ “fast response” skills with interest.

Apart from helping to stage the mock disaster, the volunteers will help extend the local Rotary Park by pitching in with weeding, planting and painting.

In a busy weekend, the students will also lend a hand with the Margaret River Rotary Fun Run whose proceeds are earmarked for charity.

Ms Kong said that all but she and two other of the volunteers were international students.

“We’ve got students from Tanzania, the US and China,” she said.

“It’s a very good mix and you get to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds.

“It’s always a good chance to socialise.”

Ms Kong said that getting out of Perth and into the country was an important experience for local and international students alike.

“The bush is a part of our national identity – and a lot of the international students think that’s what Australia is, big, wide open spaces – but not too many people have experience of it,” she said.

“We’re all busy at uni, but this is one weekend you can do something out of your comfort zone and give back to the community.”

This coming weekend marks the end of the eleventh annual John Curtin Weekend program, which this month has seen more than 500 Curtin University volunteers pitch in to 40 community projects around the great sandy state.

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