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Emergency services work as one

Published 22/11/2013

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) received more than 8,000 calls for assistance between 26 September and 4 October when severe winds buffeted large areas of southern Victoria.

A number of fronts passed through the state during that period, bringing down trees and damaging buildings.

As SES responded to the damage caused, it counted on strong support from CFA, DEPI and MFB.

Picture courtesy of Gary Sissons

Picture courtesy of Gary Sissons

Amidst the incident, MFB crews undertook roof repairs in the metropolitan area and CFA crews assisted the SES Hastings Unit and many others.

In the Loddon-Mallee Region, a Joint Task Force was assembled from SES, CFA and DEPI crews to work in the northern outskirts of the metropolitan area.

SES Manager of Regional Operations in Loddon-Mallee, Andrew Gill, briefed that taskforce as it set out from Gisborne on Thursday 3 October, on their way to the Altona SES HQ for tasking.

 Mr Gill said the taskforce had been successful due to personnel’s positivity and willingness to work as a team while recognising each other’s differing skills.

Multiagency crews took advantage of this broad skill set to improve capability, such as SES providing roofing expertise while CFA undertook chainsaw crosscutting and DEPI handled tree felling.

“All went smoothly. The crews were kept busy, no-one went hungry and the community gained the assistance required,” Mr Gill said.

“The crews would like to thank the Altona SES Unit Controller and members for their hospitality.”

“Loddon-Mallee Region has a history of agencies working together constructively. We have worked at improving our relationships through training and exercising, usage of facilities and improving our understanding of each agency’s culture and doctrine. A Multiagency Taskforce to help in another community is a logical step in increasing capability through unity.”

SES Chief Officer Operations, Trevor White, said that assistance was excellent and demonstrated the commitment of agencies to work together to increase everyone’s capability to manage surge events such as storms.

“It was really encouraging to see the agencies working as one united team to ensure that we can combine our collective skills and resources to resolve emergencies and support the community in a timely manner,” Mr White said.

“Under the leadership of the Fire Services Commissioner, CFA, MFB, DEPI and SES are continuing to work together to develop Common Doctrine to support the agencies to work more effectively on the ground.”