Tornado Hits Maddington
Paul Hollamby, Local Manager, Gosnells State Emergency Service Unit reports that around 3.30am on Sunday morning, the first request for assistance was received by Gosnells State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers. Over the next 18 hours, 105 SES volunteers, 18 Bush Fire Brigade (BFB) volunteers and numerous members of the public worked tirelessly to protect property from the tornado. To compound the devastation the volunteers were dealing with, the Bureau of Meteorology advised that additional severe winds were expected between 11pm Sunday night through to 5 am Monday morning and was expected to be a once in every 4 year event.
By late Sunday afternoon Gosnells SES had responded to over 55 requests from the local community for assistance. The damage was significant and 13 other metropolitan SES units sent teams to assist the teams from Gosnells SES. It has been estimated that over 40 tarpaulins, 20 cubic metres of sand and 2000 sandbags were used in Maddington. Although the weather conditions were not ideal, the residents of Maddington demonstrated true community spirit. Some helping the SES fill sandbags to secure tarpaulins on roofs, while others provided welcomed hot food and drink to keep at bay the cold winds and rain.
“A number of SES volunteers commented how grateful they were for the effort of the community” said Paul Hollamby, Local Manager Gosnells State Emergency Service Unit. The expertise of the City of Gosnells staff and various contractors enabled the volunteers to protect and secure homes. An area from Gosnells Road East through to Ellis Brook Reserve had significant tree damage causing power lines and poles to be damaged. Volunteers waited until Western Power made this area safe before being able to provide assistance.
The 105 SES volunteers came from Armadale, Bayswater, Bassendean, Cockburn, CSU, Gosnells, Kalamunda, Melville, Mundaring, Northshore, Rockingham, ROSS, Serpentine/Jarrahdale and Swan. Gosnells BFB provided 18 volunteers, 3 Salvation Army volunteers attended to welfare for all involved, and supported by City of Gosnells and Department of Fire and Emergency Service.
“Between May and October each year, storms can bring damaging winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding and storm surge to southern parts of Western Australia including the metropolitan area”, said Paul Hollamby, Local Manager. “Severe storms can include thunder, lightning, hail, flash flooding, tornados and gale force winds, and the best way to protect your home, family and business from these elements is to be prepared.” Information on preparing for Storms can be found at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services web site www.dfes.wa.gov.au.
It is worth remembering that volunteers would not be able to make this commitment without the support of their families and employers. The SES train regularly to be able to combat many types of natural and man-made disasters