Model design to aid airport emergencies

Queensland rural doctors and emergency personnel will benefit from a new to-scale disaster model made by a Queensland College of Art Griffith University design student.

Created for a Health Workforce Queensland project, Katie Melloy’s model of Bundaberg Airport will be used in rural areas throughout Queensland to help train doctors, medics and emergency personnel in evacuation and emergency procedures in case of an airport accident.

Constructed from ply board and edged in solid hard wood, the model was built in four pieces each approximately 140cm x 40cms and joined with piano hinges. The model kit also included a set of six cars, two ambulances, two fire engines, two planes, gum trees, four hangars and office buildings all to scale.

“All these were boxed and fitted into their own durable carry case,’’ Katie said.

“The entire model was then fitted into a custom-made travel and carry bag created from furnishing fabric and easily carried by one person.”

Katie said one of the biggest challenges she faced was the need for the large model to be easily transported. This was solved with the use of piano hinges and removable vegetation which allows the unit to be folded and flat-packed.

“The other major problem was the durability of the board and its accessory components. To solve this, I lacquered the board and made the vegetation from resilient materials to minimise deterioration from touching.”

Design lecturer Sam Di Mauro said the project gave the student the opportunity to work with a real client.

“It enabled her to experience work in the ‘real’ world. Quite often students will make models that are used for hypothetical projects that are of no practical use once the project is completed.

“In this instance Katie was not only able to use her design skills to solve a display and transportation problem, but her model will be an invaluable tool for helping rural doctors and emergency personnel.”

Health Workforce Queensland Medical Education and Training manager Larisse Green said the quality and functionality of the model exceeded her expectations.

“The model suits our educational and training needs for disaster management sessions for rural and remote doctors and is exactly what we wanted,’’ she said.