I trust you weathered the ‘dust storm’ followed finally, by some decent Rain to eventually wash it all down. Rain had to fight its way through ‘horizontal’ sand & dust clouds and started as raining ‘Mud’. Then 20mm of clean water arrived to top up Tanks. Expected all sorts of callouts locally, so had the equipment trailer loaded with extra tarps and sandbags.
WA/Police checked in earlier in the day, (Sunday May 24) to identify our crew numbers available. However surprisingly, No Calls received until 16:00hrs. By then bushfires had already taken its toll, North & South East areas out in Hill River & Mt Lesueur National Park. All local Fire & Rescue, Bushfire, Parks & Wildlife units were deployed to control these fires. “The Following to give you all an ‘insight’ to, Storm & Roof Damage.”
Our SES 132 500 line had received a call from property owners in, Coorow Shire. Eneabba SES (closest unit) were already on call in Three Springs & Dongara, so could Coastal Districts JURIEN Bay attend? Dust was just settling, and rain had arrived. (16:05hrs) A quick call around to SES members on standby to pick up at shed & greenhead, then proceeded to Coorow. Raining and dark on arrival (18:35hrs) met with the Owner and assessed the scene.
Pictures don’t do this justice. ‘Branch’ was the size of a fully grown white gum tree ! Shire had already been to site earlier, so had owner call them in to provide Front end Loader & Safety Cage. Owner went to Farm and collected his Travel Lifter. Fitted the Safety Cage to Fork Blades and secured in place. Complete with safety ropes and chainsaw’s on board, up we went to trim off ‘branches’ that had pierced tile roof line in (6) six places. (Lots of ‘clear below’) Down at ground level again, Cage removed and guided driver to align forks above Gutter to lift away tree trunk while reversing slowly to finally rest the ‘culprit’ on the ground.
Now, we could commence positioning tarpaulins and tying off with sandbags. (Tarp 1) That done, over the ridge cap to remove & align broken tiles and position (tarp 2) and tie off with Sandbags. (Note; this short paragraph was, 2hrs long and did someone mention it was still raining with the wind billowing the tarps during placement ??) didn’t notice. Our Sandbag Crew did a great job filling & loading onto cage which made life a little easier.
By the time we hit the ground, it was 21:58 hrs and our new AO based in Geraldton casually called in to ‘see how we were going’. Advised him, it was now 22:02 and ‘double time’ kicked in. Admittedly, they had some 30/40 Callouts in Geraldton also.
Loaded up the trailer, thanked all involved and proceeded ‘home’ Arrival, 23:55hrs (apparently, midnight in no longer a ‘number’) so reported in at 24:02 to say we are all safe & well. Monday morning, just may be a little different? Could tell you more, like Equipment Trailer was saturated inside, removed everything to dry out. Clothing to wash & hang to dry out. Chainsaw’s to maintain & sharpen and on it goes. Life of an SES Volunteer. Now, About that late callout in JURIEN Bay?
Warwick Gibbons, Chairperson
Coastal Districts SES – Jurien Bay