No rest for emergency workers
A PARTY of loyal volunteers in orange uniforms have been an ever-present image during and after the January flood disaster.
Local SES controller, Gary Door said it was non-stop action for SES volunteers after the floods.
“We have had a few members go out to other areas as well as here, with people going to Chinchilla and Townsville,” he said.
“We had SES members come here from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and the ACT and even Tasmania.
“Within the Lockyer Valley group, which includes Gatton and Laidley, we only have about 20 regular members.
“It would be nice to have a few new members, but we do understand it is a voluntary thing and people have to work as well.
“We are hoping we will find, after a disaster like this, more people will be keen to be involved and learn new skills.”
Mr Door said requests for help were overwhelming after the initial fallout from the floods in January.
“We were dealing with a lot of requests for help and people needed a lot of assistance,” he said.
“It is difficult in those situations because you can't always get to everyone especially when the roads are blocked and the water is rising.
“The bulk of the requests was help sandbagging different places and clean up assistance.”
He said the local teams were concentrating on cleaning up the local area.
“Since we had local people, the SES taskforce organised people from other areas to help with the search for missing people in Grantham,” he said.
“We had a lot of teamwork with the Rural Fire Brigade because they have better equipment than we do.
“About 50 to 100 SES members were in Grantham in the taskforce teams helping with the search and the clean up in addition to the 20 locals, all on a volunteer basis.”
Mr Door said the response period was hard on everyone.
“It was certainly a challenging time trying to meet the demands with the resources we had, but it was a big help having the extra people with the taskforce,” he said.
“There were local teams on the go for a whole month and they did not get a break.
“It was actually difficult convincing people to have a break during the response to the floods, but they really needed to.”
He said the Laidley group was involved in evacuating residents to the evacuation centres placed around the area.
“Most of them had to spend the night on the floor of the evacuation centres before they were involved in cleaning up the town afterwards,” he said.
He said the SES was a peer supported organisation with help and counselling available to those volunteers who required it.