Kalbarri SES May 2020 report:
Kalbarri SES has come back with a bang following weeks of little activity during the Covid 19 restrictions.
On Sunday May 3 we responded to a call for assistance from a contractor working in the area who had lost his expensive drone at Grandstand Lookout on the coastal cliffs. We were able to abseil to the crash site about 100 meters below the lookout and recover the damaged machine. This operation gave us the perfect opportunity to refresh our rope rescue skills and help a member of the public.
Training recommenced on May 4 with an evening of maintenance at the unit and a couple of exercises to test our rusty skill sets.
On May 18 we again trained at the unit headquarters where we practised rope rescues from the training tower. At this session we also welcomed 2 new members, Tristam & Dave to the unit. Along with Ross who joined earlier in the year this has boosted our numbers and greatly enhanced our ability to respond to incidents.
On Saturday May 23 with warnings of severe weather to hit the following day, unit members met to prepare. Our storm gear was readied and loaded into response vehicles and a response plan was developed. Then followed a Local Emergency Management Advisory Committee meeting with all local emergency services to coordinate the response plans.
With the bad weather hitting on Sunday morning we started our response at 8.00 am with the full unit turning out along with support from a large contingent from Kalbarri Volunteer Fire and Rescue we were able to put 4 teams on the road supported by radio, phone, logistics and support staff at the unit office.
During the storm Kalbarri suffered minor damage consisting mainly of roof damage, fallen trees and limbs, fences, air conditioning units and water leaking through roofs. No injuries were recorded. Working in the stormy conditions was uncomfortable due to the high winds, windblown dust and sand and later in the day, rain. During Sunday we attended and completed 24 jobs within Kalbarri. With most of us tired and wet we ceased operations at 8.30 pm and were back at the unit at 7.00am on Monday to clean up the equipment and restore all of our resources ready for any further deployments.
At 8.00am on Monday, four Kalbarri SES volunteers and one vehicle and trailer departed south to complete storm damage jobs at Northampton, Bowes River and on to Geraldton to assist Geraldton SES with an overload of jobs in their district. After completing 12 jobs we headed back to Kalbarri and completed a further 2 storey roof repair job that had been too dangerous to do in Sundays high winds. We got back to the unit, packed our gear and knocked off at 5.00pm after nearly 3 days of hard work, tired but happy that we had been able to complete all of our tasks.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who responded during this incident and a special thanks to our colleagues at Kalbarri Fire and Rescue for their support and assistance. Congratulations to the Kalbarri community for minimising the damage caused by being prepared for the bad weather.