Fire and Rescue NSW deployed five ‘in-water’ strike teams to flood-impacted communities on the state’s South Coast..
The teams, comprising 20 highly trained firefighters and two team leaders, worked in Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Bega and Eden, supporting the NSW State Emergency Service response to the flood emergency.
For the first time, FRNSW is deploying specially trained on-call and regional firefighters to work alongside metropolitan-based firefighters in the flood zones, with many of them living in, or close to, the towns they supported.
They are among 200 newly trained FRNSW In-Water Rescue technicians, funded as part of a $34.3 million NSW Government package.
This has increased the total capability to 350 fully qualified flood rescue personnel within FRNSW.
This new ‘hub’ resourcing model ensures normal FRNSW coverage in the area is maintained and all fire stations remain online, while also allowing highly-trained ‘in-water’ technicians, with local knowledge, to more quickly respond to the flood situation.
It delivers on a key recommendation of the 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry.
Those being activated were attached to the Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Wollongong, Nowra, Liverpool and Hurstville fire stations, alongside experts in operational support roles.
Seven vehicles and five loads of flood rescue gear were also mobilised.
FRNSW Commissioner, Jeremy Fewtrell, said the affected communities should feel reassured by the presence of our ‘in-water’ technicians.
“These firefighters are among the best trained and most highly skilled when it comes to ‘in-water’ rescues, and they’re ready to support locals at their time of need,” Commissioner Fewtrell said.
“We’ve learned from past flood events and adapted our approach to make sure the best resources and support is available when it’s most needed,” he said.