Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shellharbour STP Floods

As a volunteer emergency service worker I’m often the one who is helping others in times of need, but on the 21st Mar 2011 I was at the mercy of the weather when my place of employment flooded due heavy rainfall.

The proceeding days had been ones of constant rain with the surrounding areas being at saturation point. On the Monday, extremely heavy rain began to fall early in the morning and it didn’t seem to let up. By midday the grassed areas contained within the plant had begun to pool and the creek, which runs down the back of the plant, had turned into a raging torrent.

As we sat and had our lunch we watched in amazement as the floodwaters rose that fast that we quickly had to go and rescue cars and personal items before they were engulfed in the floodwaters. We laughed and joked about the rain earlier in the day, but now laughter had been replaced with shock and surprise.

The water engulfed all driveways, grassed areas, sheds, admin offices and soon galleries. In vain we attempted to sandbag doorways and roller doors but it was no use. The gallery sumps couldn’t keep up with the volume of water and eventually pumps and motors downstairs all went under water.

With nothing left to do we chose to evacuate the site, driving through rather deep water to make it to higher ground.

The following day upon our return to work you never have known that the plant had been inundated with water, except for the huge clean up that still continues a couple of weeks later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Swiftwater Rescue Multi Agency Training Day

On the 9th March 2011 Twenty-one (21) Illawarra Emergency Service members participated in a Multi Agency Swiftwater Rescue training day. The activity was the first of its kind held at the Penrith Whitewater facility.

Members from attended the day;
· Police Rescue Squad - Illawarra
· NSW Ambulance Service – Illawarra
· State Emergency Service – Wollongong
· State Emergency Service – Kiama
· State Emergency Service – ISC Region

With not every agency having ‘Level 3 technicians’ the day proved very successful in sharing various rescue techniques, skills and knowledge that may be used in future operations together.

Some of the skills and techniques undertaken on the day were;
· Defensive and Offensive swimming
· Rescue rope work
· Live bait rescues
· Tensioned diagonal rescues
· Shallow water crossings
· Foot entrapment

The day concluded with all members participating in a free swim around the whitewater course. Feedback from all participants was very positive and rewarding. All Services voiced their approval and interest in future activities.