HELPING HAND: Summerholm Hatton Vale Rural Fire Brigade first officer Jamie Reside volunteered in the wake of Ex-tropical cyclone Debbie.
HELPING HAND: Summerholm Hatton Vale Rural Fire Brigade first officer Jamie Reside volunteered in the wake of Ex-tropical cyclone Debbie. Ali Kuchel

Jamie puts skills to test for a cause

AS TROPICAL Cyclone Debbie was approaching north Queensland, residents were stocking up and taking cover in their homes.

But fire-fighting troops from across Queensland and New South Wales were being deployed to the region, including Hatton Vale Summerholm's first officer Jamie Reside. With very little notice, Mr Reside was sent to Townsville as the logistics officer for an Incident Management Team.

His team was responsible for resourcing accommodation, transport and whatever firefighters needed. Mr Reside said at times, they were finding accommodation for up to 60 firefighters at a time, getting hire vehicles and finding meals and bedding for those closer to the impact zone.

Based at the Regional Operations Centre, Mr Reside said it was an eye-opening experience.

"Everyone just mixed really well, there were no ranking debates, everyone was here to do their job,” he said.

"You weren't on the deployment because of your rank, it was because of your qualifications and training.”

In an ordinary day, Mr Reside is the first officer at Hatton Vale Summerholm Rural Fire Brigade, and the Laidley group officer. After the 2011 floods, he furthered his training as a logistics officer, adding another set of skills to his belt.

"I've tried to go on different deployments before, but it's either been called off or I couldn't get time off work,” he said.

"I've done other jobs, like fires at night, but not on this level.”

The IMT crew, a team of seven, stayed in Mackay for about five days before returning home.

"It would have been good to be out on the ground and helping, but the job was still challenging, especially in that leadership role,” Mr Reside said.


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