Category Archives: Australian Capital Territory

ACT | ACTSES celebrates 10 years of service

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, attended a special ceremony tonight to mark the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) in serving the ACT community for 10 years.

“It gives me great pleasure to meet with the ACTSES volunteers and congratulate them for the professional way they assist the Canberra community,” Mr Corbell said.

“During times of storm or flood, the ACTSES is always at the ready to respond.

“During last week’s cold wintery blast, ACTSES volunteers attended to 54 calls for help from the Canberra community, attending to leaking roofs as well as fallen trees and branches.”

From 1974 to 2004, the ACTSES was known as the ACT Emergency Service. Under this title the emergency service did not have any legislative authority. On 1 July, 2004, it became the ACTSES and responsibilities and authority were given to the service under the Emergency Services Act 2004.

“The last 10 years have seen the ACTSES grow from strength to strength, with currently 236 active volunteers,” Mr Corbell said.

“One of the biggest operations that the ACTSES has undertaken was during the storm and wet weather event of late February and early March 2012, when the ACTSES received a total of 965 calls for help from the Canberra community during one week.

“Having a dedicated group of emergency service volunteers at the ready to respond any time of the day or night, every day of the year is appreciated and respected by all in the community and I would like to thank each and every one of them.

Tonight’s anniversary celebration also recognised one ACTSES member for outstanding service with Peter McEncroe receiving the inaugural Tony Graham Leadership and Values Award.

Commemorative medallions were presented to each of the ACTSES commanders from all seven units across the ACT, with the medallions also to be given to all current ACTSES volunteers.

New South Wales | Severe winter weather forecast for the weekend

The Bureau has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds, this is expected to impact the people in Metropolitan, Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains and Australian Capital Territory.

Damaging winds around 60 to 65 km/h with peak gusts of 90 km/h are forecast for Saturday for the Snowy Mountains forecast district and parts of the Metropolitan, Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and Australian Capital Territory districts. Alpine Peaks may experience winds around 70 km/h with peak gusts around 110 km/h today and Saturday.

It is likely that good dumps of snow will be seen in the Alpine area as blizzard conditions are expected. The NSW SES is urging residents in southeast New South Wales to prepare for more strong winds and icy conditions this weekend, with many school-holidaymakers expected to be out and about.

To view all current warnings for NSW click here

During strong winds people should:

  • Move indoors, bringing in children and pets and keep away from windows
  • Stay clear of fallen trees and power lines
  • Do not go sightseeing
  • Listen to your local radio station for updates
  • Visit www.stormsafe.com.au for more safety tips.

For emergency help in a storm call 132 500. Dial 000 (triple zero) in life-threatening situations.

Australian Capital Territory | Community urged to discuss bushfire plan

An updated plan to keep Canberra at the forefront of bushfire mitigation planning has been released today for public comment by Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell.

Mr Corbell invites the ACT community to comment on the draft of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan Version Three.

“The draft SBMP Version Three is designed to get the Canberra community’s attention about living in at risk areas where the city meets the bush and reinforces the government’s key message of ‘Living on the edge – help shape bushfire management in the ACT‘,” Mr Corbell said.

“The plan considers all bushfire risks across the ACT and sets out a clear direction for the government and the community to work together to reduce the risk of bushfires.

I encourage all interested people to review the planwhich is available on the ESA website at www.esa.act.gov.au –  and to provide their comments to the ESA Commissioner by 30 July. The release of this exposure draft provides Canberrans with further opportunity to provide feedback on the development of the plan. This follows the community consultations undertaken to date.”

Updates to the plan have resulted from community consultations and lessons learned from other jurisdictions over the past five years.

“A significant change includes the introduction of ‘bushfire prone areas’. The findings of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission highlighted that in relation to those who died in the bushfires ‘24 per cent seemed unaware that they were in a bushfire risk area‘.”

“This plan identifies the vital role the community members play in understanding and addressing the risk they and their families face in bushfire prone areas. This will allow the ESA to assess the risk as well as provide for specifically targeted bushfire education and awareness programs to the community.”

The Emergencies Act 2004 requires strategic bushfire management plans be reviewed at intervals of no more than five years.

Comments can be sent to the ESA Commissioner at sbmphaveyoursay@act.gov.au.

Australian Capital Territory | Severe weather keeps ACT SES crews busy

The ACT State Emergency Service has received a total of 38 calls for help since yesterday as a result of the wet and windy weather.

ACTSES volunteer units and ACT Fire & Rescue crews are responding to the jobs which are based largely on the northside of the city.

A large tree has crashed through the roof of a house in Ramage Place at Flynn. One residence in Macgregor experienced a partial ceiling collapse.

The majority of the other calls have been about fallen tree branches and minor flooding.

The ACTSES advise residents to keep clear of any potential fallen trees or power-lines, to secure any loose outdoor furniture, keep vehicles under cover and to keep clear of any fast flowing water.

For emergency flood and storm assistance call the ACTSES on 132 500.

Australian Capital Territory | Emergency Services to target female recruits

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, today announced that $160,000 has been set aside for a campaign to boost gender diversity within the territory’s emergency services.

“The Government is developing and implementing a Women in Emergency Services Strategy to attract and retain more women to emergency services, particularly focusing on increasing the number of women attracted to firefighting. The initiative, which has been allocated $160,000, will be funded from the agency’s existing resources,” Mr Corbell said.

“Women within the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) currently make up 18.6 per cent of the total full time workforce and 26.4 per cent among the volunteer ranks, while women in ACT Fire & Rescue make up 2% of the total number of firefighters.

“The government wants to enhance diversity in the ESA and ensure the visibility and recognition of women, and the skills they contribute to emergency services in the ACT.

“The Women in Emergency Services Strategy will ensure the ESA builds a workforce that better reflects the community it serves, and provides an inclusive environment that respects and values all of its members, affording equitable opportunities and fully utilising the capabilities of all staff.”

The strategy will take into account feedback from staff and volunteers during a targeted internal consultation process including several workshops.

“The commissioner and chief officers are committed to the implementation of the strategy to ensure the organisational cultures embrace diversity and have welcomed the government’s support for this initiative.

“The ESA wants to be considered by women as an employer of choice across each of its services, and future recruitment efforts will specifically target women rather than previous generic media campaigns.

“It is envisioned this strategy will not only lead to a higher level of interest from women in careers within emergency services but also lead to increasing the number of women in the ESA and will hopefully facilitate more women to progress, on merit, to senior management roles. A more diverse workforce will give the ESA the capability it needs to better service the community in times of crisis.”

Australian Capital Territory | Possible Death Cap mushroom poisoning

ACT Health has been working closely with Woolworths and ACT Policing to investigate three cases of Death Cap mushroom poisoning that occurred in the ACT.

“We’d like to acknowledge the swift action taken by Woolworths in response to the initial information about the source of the mushrooms,” ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly said.

“Investigations by ACT Policing in the last 24 hours have found no evidence that the Death Cap mushrooms consumed by the patients were purchased from Woolworths in Dickson.

“Our investigations are still ongoing as to the source of the Death Cap mushrooms, however this remains an isolated incident and there have been no other recent reports of Death Cap mushroom poisoning in the ACT.

“Two of the patients remain in a stable condition in ACT hospitals and one patient is currently receiving care at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. ACT Health is seeking co-operation in respecting the privacy of these patients during this time,” Dr Kelly concluded.

People are reminded not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms. It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish Death Cap mushrooms from other edible mushrooms.

Further information on Death Cap mushrooms is available via: http://www.health.act.gov.au/publications/fact-sheets/death-cap-mushrooms

This appears to be an isolated incident and there have been no other recent reports of Death Cap mushroom poisoning in the ACT.

Symptoms of Death Cap mushroom poisoning include stomach aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms generally appear 6-24 hours after ingesting the mushrooms.

People are reminded not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms. It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish Death Cap mushrooms from other edible mushrooms,” Dr Kelly said.

ACT Health and Woolworths will continue to work closely together to investigate this matter.

Australian Capital Territory | ESA to test telephone warning system tomorrow

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) will conduct a test of the national telephone warning system known as EMERGENCY ALERT tomorrow (Saturday 3 May, 2014) in selected areas across Canberra.

The EMERGENCY ALERT system was enhanced in 2013 to allow emergency services to target text messages towards specific locations on an expanded number of mobile phone networks.

The test will provide an opportunity to target a range of areas including the urban / rural interface, the inner city, a rural district, as well as an area with NBN coverage.

Trained operators within the ESA and ACT Policing will target streets in the suburbs of Conder, Turner, O’Connor, Fadden, Gowrie, Macarthur, Gungahlin and also at the Cotter Reserve.

The test will begin at 12pm and scheduled to conclude at 4pm. The test message will clearly identify that the message is a test and recipients should not call Emergency Triple Zero (000).

ACT | Community Protection medals awarded for diligence in policing and emergency services

ACT Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, today awarded the ACT Community Protection Medal to five people from ACT Policing and the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA).

These medals are an opportunity to recognise the men and women who work so diligently in police and emergency services for the ACT community.

“Today we are recognising five people who are the embodiment of commitment and dedication to the ACT community,” Mr Corbell said. “They have demonstrated this steadfastness over a lengthy period of time, with the community benefiting from their dedication so it is important their service is formally recognised.

“It is with great pleasure that I present the ACT Community Protection Medal to five noteworthy Canberrans.”

The five recipients of this year’s ACT Community Protection Medal are:

  • Detective Sergeant Sharan Slater, who has served the ACT Community as a police officer for 30 years years.   Detective Sergeant Slater has been a mentor and coach to many members of ACT Policing during her tenure and currently co-ordinates the Volunteers in Policing Program.
  • Megan Davies from the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS), who has been with the service for more than 10 years.  Megan has a long history of sustained and distinguished service as an intensive care paramedic who has twice been voted Paramedic of the Year by her colleagues.
  • Garth Brice from ACT Fire and Rescue, who has a service history of more than 10 years.  Garth is a founding member of the Community Fire Unit program in the ACT – a program established following the devastating 2003 firestorm.
  • Anthony (Tony) Hill from the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS), who is a committed and dedicated member who is seen as a role model and mentor within the service.  Tony has been committed to bushfire prevention, preparedness and increasing community awareness for more than 20 years.
  • Susan Elsbury from the ACT State Emergency Service (SES), who is commended for her support, mentoring and ongoing dedication to the Service.  Susan has been a volunteer for six years and has played an important role in the PEER Support and Community Education program of the SES.

Established in 2002, the ACT Community Protection Medal is awarded to members who have given sustained, distinguished or outstanding service.

They are awarded on a merit-based system, which is decided based on recommendation by a committee of industry professionals.

Australian Capital Territory | Nine ACTRFS volunteers bound for Victoria

The ACT Rural Fire Service has received a formal request from Victorian fire authorities to assist in operations in south-east Gippsland.

The five-day deployment will include nine volunteer firefighters who will be deployed to the Bairnsdale area in five fire appliances departing the ACT tomorrow morning.

The team will be forming part of a larger New South Wales firefighting contingent.

Australian Capital Territory | New fire and rescue station for south Tuggeranong

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, today turned the first sod at the site for a brand new ACT Fire & Rescue station in South Tuggeranong.

“Located next to the roundabout intersection of Tharwa and Drakeford Drives, this new Fire & Rescue station in South Tuggeranong is the next step in the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Station Upgrade and Relocation Strategy,” Mr Corbell said.

“Improving emergency services coverage across the Territory as it grows is a priority for the ACT Government. The Tuggeranong community will benefit from a new Fire & Rescue station in this more strategic location that will better serve their needs.”

“The ACT Government has committed $17.36 million in the current budget for the construction of the new Fire & Rescue station, which is due to be operational in early 2015.”

ADCO Constructions (Vic) Pty Ltd has been selected to build the new station, with work scheduled to commence later this month. On completion, firefighters will relocate from the existing ACT Fire & Rescue station in the Tuggeranong town centre.

In what is believed to be a first for any Fire & Rescue station in Australia, fire vehicles will leave the new station directly entering into a roundabout.

“This will facilitate speedy multi directional emergency responses. Time is critical for all emergencies and having the ability to utilise an existing roundabout to enter traffic will enhance responses when firefighters are deployed to incidents.

“Following on from the successful launch of the combined Ambulance and Fire & Rescue station in West Belconnen last year, this new Fire & Rescue station will also have many environmentally and sustainable design initiatives including rainwater harvesting,  solar electricity and hot water.

“Importantly, staff from ACT Fire & Rescue have been involved in the development stage of this new station and local businesses and the community, including the Tuggeranong Community Council, have also been kept informed.”