Category Archives: Western Australia

Western Australia | Cyclone advice for Cockatoo Island to Port Hedland in the Kimberley

If you live in the Kimberley between Cockatoo Island and Port Hedland, you need to prepare your home and family for a possible cyclone, with the development of a tropical low of the Western Australian coast. 
This includes people in Cockatoo Island, Port Hedland, Broome and Wallal and surrounding areas.
Remember that preparing your home and family for a cyclone is your responsibility.
WHAT TO DO:
DFESs State Emergency Service (SES) advises you to:
  • Review your family cyclone plan and make sure everyone knows what to do.
  • Prepare your home inside and out.
  • Organise an emergency kit with a portable battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries and first aid kit.
  • Know the community cyclone alert system and the steps that must be taken for each alert.
CYCLONE DETAILS:
As at 2:46 pm on Saturday 8 February 2014 a Cyclone WATCH has been declared for a developing tropical low for coastal and island areas from Cockatoo Island to Port Hedland, including Broome and Wallal.
At 2:00 pm a tropical low was estimated to be 155 kilometres southwest of Wyndham and 200 kilometres west southwest of Kununurra and moving west southwest at 10 kilometres per hour.
The low is expected to move steadily towards the west southwest across the Kimberley over the weekend bringing heavy rainfall and periods of strong and squally winds.
The system may move over open water off the west Kimberley coast, in the vicinity of Broome, during Monday. If the low spends enough time over open water it will develop into a tropical cyclone on Monday or Tuesday.
Gales are not expected in coastal areas over the weekend but may develop between Cockatoo Island and Wallal on Monday if the low
develops into a tropical cyclone. Gales may then extend down the coast towards Port Hedland later on Monday.
The biggest impact from this system is likely to be flooding, which is already occurring in the Kimberley and is likely to extend into the Pilbara from late Monday. Flood Warnings are current for the Fitzroy River, Ord River and the north and west Kimberley.
 Please refer to the latest Flood Warnings for further details.
Community alerts will be issued by DFES if the cyclone comes closer.
There are four stages of alerts Blue, Yellow, Red and All Clear.
  • BLUE ALERT means prepare for dangerous weather.
  • YELLOW ALERT means take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone.
  • RED ALERT means go to shelter immediately.
  • ALL CLEAR means that wind and storm surge dangers have passed but you need to take care to avoid the dangers caused by damage.
IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
  • For SES assistance call 132 500.
  • In a life threatening situation call 000.
  • For weather information visit www.bom.gov.auor call 1300 659 210.
KEEP UP TO DATE:
Call 1300 657 209, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au , follow DFES on Twitter @dfes_wa listen to news bulletins.
For more information on how to prepare, a copy of Cyclone Smart is available at www.dfes.wa.gov.au

Western Australia | Chemical incident along truck route between Fremantle and Maddington

There was a chemical incident along a truck route on Tuesday evening between 4pm and 6pm.
A truck carrying herbicide in a sea container has spilled up to 300 litres.
The chemical has been identified as Paraquat. It is used as a weed killer and is toxic when it comes into contact with skin, irritation with redness and itchiness. Skin irritation can be relieved by washing the affected area with warm soapy water.
The chemical is very toxic if ingested however this is extremely unlikely to have occurred in this incident.
People with medical concerns should contact their local doctor or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
As a precautionary measure, people who drove along the route taken by the truck should check the outside of their vehicle for contamination. If the chemical splashed onto a vehicle it may leave aqua (blue-green) staining which can be washed off with soapy water.
The truck left DP World at the Fremantle Port and travelled the following route to Maddington:
·         Port Beach Rd
·         Tydeman Rd
·         Stirling Hwy
·         Leach Hwy
·         Kwinana Fwy
·         Roe Hwy
·         Kenwick Link
·         Royal St
·         Bickley Rd
·         Valencia Way
·         Orchard Rd
The route is currently being inspected by firefighters to identify any spillage. Clean-up crews are ready to immediately respond.
The Department of Environment Regulation (DER) Pollution Response Unit has assessed the environmental risk in conjunction with DFES and other agencies. Current information indicates the risk to the environment is low.

Western Australia | More significant rain set to swell Kimberley rivers and streams

People in the Kimberley need to plan now for an expected swelling of rivers and streams this week with another tropical low likely to bring significant rainfall to the region.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Operations Area Manager Matt Reimer said the expected heavy rain associated with the tropical low was likely to cause floodways and river levels to rise rapidly and become dangerous.
“Continual rainfall over the past few weeks has seen most of the river heights in the Kimberley already reach moderate flood level,” he said.
“More forecast rain this week means some of the Kimberley’s rivers may reach major levels and cause flooding so it is important that people should take care near rising waterways.
“In particular, people in remote areas who can often become isolated because of floodwaters should plan their journeys including taking any essential supplies, and be aware of road conditions and closures.”
Mr Reimer warned that people have found themselves in dangerous situations after failing to follow warnings, and by attempting to travel or swim in floodwaters.
“It’s important people obey road closure signs and don’t drive into water of unknown depth and current,” he said. “While it may seem like fun, walking, swimming or playing in floodwaters can be a very dangerous activity as you just don’t know what hazards may be lying under the surface.”
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advises the tropical low will strengthen off the North West and is likely to reach Tropical Cyclone intensity before crossing the coast. The system could affect people in the North West coastal parts of the Kimberley.
For more helpful tips to stay safe, you can find a Cyclone Smart or Flood Smart kit at your local SES unit or for more information visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.

Western Australia | Gift first aid kits gift for Good Sams

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When a light plane crashed into an oval in South Lake it was only a matter of seconds before help arrived.

Pilot Tony White and his passenger Ralph Lerch suffered severe burns and serious injuries when the plane they were in crashed in South Lake on December 9.

Nigel Lifford, of Armadale, and John De’Laney, of South Lake, were first on scene, helping the two men seconds after they jumped out of the burning plane.

Mr Delaney, a former emergency department nurse, saw the smoke from his home only 200 metres away and immediately grabbed his first aid kit and rushed to the scene.

“When I got to the burning wreckage of the plane and saw that the pilot and passenger were out of the aircraft and the horrific burns they had suffered, I was determined to do everything that I could to help give them the best chance of survival,” he said.

“I did my initial rapid assessment, checking airways, breathing, circulation and level of consciousness.”

“While doing this I was also observing their burns. I then did a secondary assessment where I focussed on the level of burns as well as a secondary assessment of the airway to determine the likelihood of burns to the upper airway in the nose and mouth.”

Mr Lifford, a former volunteer firefighter with first aid training, was driving along Berrigan Drive on his way home from work. He also saw the large plume of smoke and thought someone could need assistance.

He grabbed the first aid kit from his car and raced to join Mr Delaney

“John saw that I had a well-stocked first aid kit and started asking for gauze, saline, wound dressings and as quick as I could get them out John was putting them on Ralph,” he said. “All the time I was talking to Ralph, reassuring him that everything was okay and that Tony was okay and being worked on good people and the ambos were on their way.”

Metropolitan Ambulance General Manager James Sherriff praised the two men and said their quick thinking and actions helped the patients.

“With burns injuries such as those suffered in this incident it is critical to respond quickly and commence first aid,” he said. “The immediate first aid rendered by these men no doubt played a critical role in the treatment chain to ensure the best possible outcome for both Tony and Ralph.”

Mr Sherriff said if more people knew first aid we would have a more resilient community and better outcomes for all. He said St John had a steadfast commitment to first aid training believing that anyone can save a life.

“The first 10 minutes after an incident are most crucial, and it is critical that after the call for an ambulance is made you keep the patient’s airway clear and start CPR if the person is not breathing, as has happened in this instance,” he said.

On Wednesday, January 29, the two men were each presented with a St John Leisure first aid Kit by St John Area Manager Marc Van Reenen.

For more information about first aid training or to book a course, visit: www.stjohnambulance.com.au

Western Australia | Gosnells SES volunteers devastated after EOC broken into and vandalized

Volunteers from the Gosnells State Emergency Service (SES) Unit received devastating news in the early hours of this morning. Some thoughtless individuals broke in to the Gosnells Emergency Operation Centre used by both the Gosnells SES and Gosnells Bush Fire Brigade. 

Gosnells SES Local Manager, Paul Hollamby said “The volunteers are devastated their ability to respond to emergency situations within the community has been affected”

Initially it was thought that they had only set fire to some impounded vehicles being stored in the car park, on behalf of Gosnells. Upon further investigation it appears that they took equipment from trucks and used it to break in to the Emergency Operations Centre. They smashed their way through doors, and once inside it appears they broke into drawers and cabinets.

“Some of the members have been volunteering to the community for 35 years, and helped raise funds for the construction of the Emergency Operations Centre”, said Paul Hollamby. “The volunteers and their families gave up their personal time so that the volunteers would have somewhere to train, store equipment and respond to emergencies.”  The extent of damage and theft will not be known until the Forensic Police have finished their investigation.

Paul Hollamby said “This thoughtless act will affect the commitment of the emergency service volunteers. They will re-think their willingness because next time these vandals may steal or damage their personal vehicles and property of the volunteers.”

The Gosnells SES volunteers collectively wore orange for more than 8000 hours across the state last year while helping to respond to and prepare for disasters.  Collectively the State Emergency Service comprises of volunteers who have similar experiences across the state. Upon hearing this devastating news, Gosnells SES has been overwhelmed by the offers of support and assistance from volunteers in other Units.

“These same volunteers spent hundreds of man-hours assisting at the recent fires at Parkerville. It is immensely disappointing for volunteers when they realise there are people in the community who prey on them while they assist other community members”, said Paul Hollamby

It is worth remembering that volunteers would not be able to make this commitment without the support of their families and employers.  Training with the SES is open to men and women, of all ages over 18. Contact the Gosnells SES on 9459 8015 to find out more about becoming a volunteer.

Western Australia | Take action with the start of bad weather between Three Rivers, Carnegie, Balgair, Norseman and Cue

If you live between Three Rivers, Carnegie, Balgair, Norseman, Southern Cross and Cue you should take action and stay safe with the start of bad weather.
This includes people in, near and between Kalgoorlie and Meekatharra and surrounding areas. This does not include Southern Cross.
This is unusual weather that could cause major damage to homes and make travel very dangerous.
WHAT TO DO:
DFES State Emergency Service (SES) has these tips to help you and your family stay safe:
  • Close your curtains and blinds, and stay inside away from windows
  • If caught outside find safe shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams
  • Unplug electrical appliances and avoid using landline telephones if there is lightning
  • If there is flooding, create your own sandbags by using pillow cases filled with sand and place them around doorways to protect your home.
IF DRIVING:
  • Slow down, turn your lights on and keep a safe distance from other drivers
  • If it is raining heavily and you cannot see, pull over and park with your hazard lights on until the rain clears
  • Do not drive into water of unknown depth and current
  • Be careful driving on gravel roads as surfaces will be slippery and muddy and vehicles could become bogged.
WEATHER DETAILS:
As at 3.13pm the Bureau of Meteorology advises a deep tropical low lies about 70 kilometres west-southwest of Newman at 3pm today and is expected to move slowly south over the next 24 hours. During Thursday the low will take a more south-easterly path through the Goldfields and reach the Eucla by Friday.
The low is likely to cause HEAVY RAINFALL that could cause FLASH FLOODING in parts of the warning area north of Kalgoorlie from Wednesday morning and extend to remaining parts by midnight Wednesday.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS:

  • If your home has been badly damaged by a storm call the SES on 132 500
  • In a life threatening situation call 000
  • For the latest weather information visit www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 213.
After a storm SES volunteers make temporary repairs to homes that have been badly damaged, such as roofs that have been ripped off or large fallen trees on homes and cars. Please contact your insurance company to organise permanent repairs.
KEEP UP TO DATE:
Call 1300 657 209, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au or listen to news bulletins.

Western Australia | WA sends support for South Australian bushfires

A contingent of 17 personnel departed this morning to assist South Australia in responding to a number of bushfires burning across the State.

The Western Australian group consists of 12 personnel from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), four from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), and one volunteer from Jandakot Bush Fire Brigade.

DFES Duty Assistant Commissioner Chris Arnol said the group would initially assist in supporting the South Australian incident management team for the Eden Valley bushfire in the Barossa region.

“WA was asked to send assistance and despite our own recent bushfires, WA personnel are always willing to help fellow firefighters in other states.

“Over 2,500 hectares of grassland and at least three homes have been destroyed by a bushfire burning in Eden Valley.

“Our team has been deployed to assist with the management of the emergency on a 12 hour shift rotation until the incident concludes.

“DFES and DPaW would also like to reassure Western Australians that safety of our State remains the priority, and would always ensure there is adequate protection in place.

“Like many people in Australia my heart goes out to all the families who have lost properties or have been affected by the number of devastating bushfires that are occurring across the country.”

The exact period of any deployment can be difficult to determine, however it is anticipated the Western Australian team will be deployed in South Australia for approximately five days.​

Western Australia | Measles alert – 14 confirmed cases

The Department of Health is warning people to check their measles vaccination status after two Western Australian adults—a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s were hospitalised in the last week.

The two were infected with measles following travel to Asia.

A total of 14 confirmed cases of measles have been reported during the period October 2013 to January 2014 compared to an average of just three cases during this period over the previous five years.

Acting Director of Communicable Disease Control Dr Paul Effler said that it was possible that more measles cases would occur in Western Australia over the coming weeks.

Dr Effler said measles was highly contagious among people who were not fully immunised.

“Measles is highly infectious and is spread through coughing and sneezing,” Dr Effler said.

“Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears.

“Complications can range from an ear infection and diarrhoea to pneumonia or swelling of the brain.

“Anyone who develops measles symptoms should seek medical attention, but it is important that they phone ahead first to ensure they don’t share the waiting area with other patients and risk infecting them.”

Dr Effler said measles could be prevented through vaccination. Two doses of measles containing vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) given four weeks apart will protect approximately 99% of those immunised.

Dr Effler said that people born in 1965 or earlier were usually already immune because they had measles disease during childhood, but younger people (those born in 1966 or later) who had not received two doses of measles vaccine were likely to be susceptible to measles.

“Measles is still common in many parts of the world and Australians who travel abroad need to check their immunisation status,” Dr Effler said.

“If you are younger than 49 years old and are not sure if you’ve had two doses of measles vaccine you should consult with your doctor at least a month before your departure.”

Dr Effler also urged parents to check that their children are fully immunised. Children should receive a dose of measles vaccine at both 12 and 18 months of age, as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

For more information on measles visit: Measles fact sheet

Western Australia | Residents in the Shire of Mundaring begin recovery after bushfire

People in parts of Parkerville, Stoneville and Mount Helena still need to be cautious when visiting or returning to their homes throughout the day.

The bushfire is contained and under control however conditions in the area remain dangerous.

Fire and emergency services, Western Power and other agencies are still on scene making the area safe.

IF YOUR HOME HAS BEEN AFFECTED:
• The zone where homes have been lost is hazardous due to damaged infrastructure, downed powerlines and the risk of falling tree limbs. People who live in this area will be escorted on to the fire ground today, but will not be able to stay at this time.
• People outside this zone will be allowed to return to their homes today, however they will need to register for a permit and access will be restricted. Residents in this area need to be aware electricity may not be restored for another few days.  If conditions are breached, permits may be revoked.

A number of agencies are working together to help the community recover, including the Salvation Army, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, and the Shire of Mundaring.

These steps may help you and your family:
• Seek support from local welfare agencies.
• Encourage your family to talk about their experience with friends and neighbours.
• Rely on official information from authorities.
• Become involved in community activities as soon as you can.
• Children should return to their normal routine as soon as possible.

A one stop shop of services with representatives from State Government departments, the Shire of Mundaring, insurers and health fund services is open today at the Brown Park Recreation Centre on the corner of Amherst Road and Salisbury Road in Swan View for people who have been impacted by the fire.

RETURNING HOME:
Please follow the guidelines below to ensure your health and safety when returning home:
• You should throw away all perishable food in fridges and freezers.
• You should also throw away any medicines and drinks that have been exposed to heat, smoke and water damage.
• Rainwater tanks may be contaminated and unsafe to drink.
• The Shire of Mundaring will be assisting by establishing extra rubbish bin collections.
• Make sure you take photos for your insurance company of anything you throw out.

For further information please refer to the ‘After The Fire’ guide on the DFES website.

ROAD CLOSURES:
Avoid the area and be aware of fire and other emergency services personnel working on site. A number of roads remain closed, for further details contact Main Roads WA on 138 138, visit www.mainroads.wa.gov.au or the Shire of Mundaring.

FINANCIAL HELP:
Monetary assistance is available for families in immediate need of help. For more information visit the Shire of Mundaring or Department for Child Protection and Family Support representatives at the Brown Park Recreation Centre.

PET WELFARE:
For help with pet welfare contact your local vet and the Shire of Mundaring Ranger service. A register is set up at the Brown Park Recreation Centre for registering addresses where pets have been left unattended.  The local ranger with assistance from the RSPCA is conducting animal welfare checks. RSPCA WA may provide support and relocation for lost and injured animals after major fires and can be contacted on 9209 9300.

POWER:
Western Power has advised that approximately 1000 properties are without power in parts of Parkerville, Stoneville and Mount Helena. For further details visit www.westernpower.com.au.

PHONE:
Affected customers should call the faults line on 13 22 03 and advise staff if your home was damaged. If you are not a Telstra customer contact your service provider for help.

EXTRA INFORMATION:
• Firefighters will continue to strengthen containment lines and ensure the area is 100 per cent blacked out throughout the day. Crews will also be conducting backburning in the area.
• The alert level will remain until all suppression activities have been completed.

AGENCY RESPONSIBLE:
DFES and the Shire of Mundaring are managing the recovery efforts.

Western Australia | Act decisively for the weekend’s dangerous fire conditions

With very hot, dry and windy conditions forecast across Perth and southern parts of Western Australia this weekend, people should act decisively now to prepare for a bushfire starting near them.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Operations Command Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey said in the forecast conditions fires would start suddenly, move quickly and be difficult to bring under control.
“The weekend weather forecast poses a very high bushfire risk for people in the metropolitan area and large parts the State,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said the dangerous fire conditions meant that people should consider tonight what they do tomorrow during the hot weather and start taking action.
“Planning to plan is not a plan, you need to be ready to act,” he said.
“If you are not prepared to the highest level, leaving bushfire risk areas early in the day is your safest option.”
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said as a preventative measure, a Total Fire Ban had been declared for a number of regions across WA for tomorrow including the Perth metropolitan area.
“DFES and volunteer firefighters across the State are doing everything we can to prepare for the dangerous fire weather this weekend,” he said.
“A Total Fire Ban, which makes it illegal to do anything that is likely to start a fire, will assist the community and emergency services in reducing the possibility that accidental fires will start.”
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said the rules around Total Fire Bans applied to everyone including residents, businesses and other organisations regardless of location.
“A Total Fire Ban affects us all, whether you live in urban or regional areas, and everyone needs to be aware of exactly what it means,” he said.
“For example when a Total Fire Ban is declared it prohibits the lighting of any fires in the open air and any other activities that may start a fire.
“Breaching a Total Fire Ban can result in serious penalties and even jail time, so no matter what your question, it is better to ask and find out than take a chance.”

Information on Total Fire Bans and a copy of Prepare. Act. Survive is available on the DFES website at www.dfes.wa.gov.auor by calling 1800 709 355.