MEDIA RELEASE: Busiest period in VICSES history

MEDIA RELEASE: Busiest period in VICSES history

05/11/2021, 12:37 PM

The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) has seen the two busiest periods in its history within the past six months following significant storms in June and October.

In the seven-days from 4:00PM on Thursday 29 October, up until 4:00PM yesterday, Thursday 4 November, 2021, our VICSES volunteers responded to a total of 9,898 Requests For Assistance (RFA).

Of those calls, over 7000 were for fallen trees, over 2,000 for building damage and around 200 to the impacts of flooding.

Damaging winds created widespread damage on Thursday night and Friday morning last week, and then heavy rainfall created flash flooding in St Arnaud, Wedderburn and Castlemaine on Wednesday.

Busiest volunteer units have included the VICSES Frankston Unit responding to over 900 RFAs, VICSES Sorrento Unit responding to over 600 RFAs, and the VICSES Narre Warren Unit, responding to over 500 RFAs.

The June storm earlier this year that significantly impacted the Dandenong Ranges, Macedon Ranges, LaTrobe Valley and Hepburn Shire is considered the biggest event in VICSES history. It eventually resulted in over 10,000 RFAs alongside widespread power outages.    

Today, VICSES farewelled volunteers from the NSW SES, who are heading home after three long days providing emergency assistance to Victorians in southern metropolitan Melbourne as a result of the storm.

The NSW SES crews were tasked to assist in some of the hardest hit areas such as Frankston, Red Hill and Chelsea, using their specialist rooftop skills to clear the remaining jobs and provide some much needed relief to local VICSES crews.

VICSES also received great support with our emergency management partners such as CFA and Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVIC) as well as council staff and contractors who were of great assistance in clearing the massive volume of calls for help.

VICSES was able to clear all remaining Requests For Assistance late yesterday.

Like any other, this weather event is a good reminder for community members to download the VicEmergency app, for the latest warning and advice messaging, and check the VicTraffic mobile app or website before travelling for updates on road closures, hazards and to consider alternative journeys.

Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Operations, Tim Wiebusch:

“It’s been an incredibly busy few days for our VICSES volunteers responding to this significant storm event, especially with the large number of calls for help coming through daily”.

“I’m really proud of the work our VICSES volunteers have undertaken and continue to do to assist so many community members with great support from our partner agencies”.

“To have some additional capacity from NSW SES to complement our crews, was an incredible asset for our response to this event. It gave our volunteers some respite, but also the ability to clear the back log of requests for assistance as quickly as we did”.

NSWSES volunteers, who came to assist Victorians in the aftermath of the storm event.