Tag Archives: New South Wales

New South Wales | NSW firefighters battling wildfires in Canada

More than 100 Australian firefighters have travelled to Canada to help fight large and destructive wildfires.

They’re working in British Columbia and the North West Territories.

The NSW team includes:

  • 32 personnel from the NSW RFS
  • 13 personnel from National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • 4 personnel from Forestry Corporation
  • 3 personnel from Fire & Rescue NSW

Roles include specialist Incident Management Team personnel. Emergency Management Victoria is coordinating the deployment on behalf of all Australian states and territories.

New South Wales | NSW Ambulance campaign urges public to assess whether their Urgency is an Emergency before calling Triple Zero (000)


NSW Ambulance has officially launched a new campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary pressure on emergency ambulance and hospital resources during the peak winter period.

The social media campaign “Is Your Urgency an Emergency?” aims to encourage the community to #MakeTheRightCall to get the right care.

Commissioner Ray Creen, Chief Executive NSW Ambulance, said the online campaign isn’t designed to discourage people from calling Triple Zero (000). Instead, it aims to educate users about the role of NSW Ambulance paramedics and the treatment pathways patients with coughs, colds or sprained limbs may be referred to.

“NSW Ambulance Triple Zero (000) call takers answer a call for help on average every 26 seconds. Just 10 per cent of these calls are for patients with life-threatening conditions,” Commissioner Creen said.

“NSW Ambulance paramedics attending non-medical emergencies could mean a patient with a life threatening emergency may have to wait, potentially putting their life at risk.”

The winter months are traditionally one of the busiest times for our  paramedics and unfortunately the statistics show that around 40 per cent of people ring Triple Zero (000) when their condition is low acuity or non-urgent for an illness or injury which could be more appropriately managed by other health providers.

In order to better use its resources and the clinical skills of paramedics, NSW Ambulance has embraced a range of treatment pathways which will ensure patients get the most appropriate out-of-hospital care for their condition.

“Just as every patient who presents to an Emergency Department (ED) is not admitted to hospital, not every patient who calls Triple Zero (000) needs a stretcher ambulance or paramedic.

“During these busy winter months, when demand is high, we need to make sure NSW Ambulance resources are used appropriately and effectively and not tied up with non-emergency situations,” Commissioner Creen said.

The colourful campaign is made up of four posters which clearly show the gamut of treatment pathways available to patients, before or after they make a Triple Zero (000) call. It also includes an emergency gauge with common conditions listed in a sliding scale from non-urgent to emergency.

This campaign educates patients with non life-threatening or non-urgent conditions not to expect a double crewed stretcher ambulance response. Patients may be referred by NSW Ambulance Triple Zero (000) call takers or paramedics to Healthdirect Australia, which is staffed by registered nurses, or to the After Hours Medical Deputising Service which will provide a doctor to the patient’s home.

“It’s important to remember that Triple Zero (000) is for emergencies and although we will answer every Triple Zero (000) call and provide medical assistance, phoning for an ambulance is not always the right call to make to get the right care,” Commissioner Creen said.

“NSW Ambulance Triple Zero (000) control centre staff and paramedics are health experts so the community needs to trust their ability to make the right decision.”

For non-emergency situations, people can always seek advice from:
Healthdirect on 1800 022 222
Local General Practitioners (GPs)
Medical Deputising Service

“This campaign empowers the community to make that decision themselves by being aware there are other treatment pathways available instead of thinking Triple Zero (000) is the only option,”
Commissioner Creen said.

“I would call on all members of the public to really think before making that call. You can help save lives by assessing if your urgency is an emergency and ensuring you make the right call.”


New South Wales | Super snow Sunday expected as major winter storm takes aim on the state

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has advised the SES that the snow this weekend, especially on Sunday, will be some of the heaviest for years. Strong winds are expected to accompany the snow and conditions along the ranges may at times become blizzard like posing a significant risk to people who are not prepared.

According to the BoM, snow of 5-15cm will be widespread along the ranges especially the Southern and Central Tablelands may fall along the ranges with locally higher falls of 20-30cm. Alpine areas may see up to a metre of snow. Winds may gust in some areas up to 90km/hr. Roads will likely close and properties and some towns may become cut off. Cold weather after Sunday may hold the snow for several days and lengthen isolation especially in higher and more remote areas.

Towns that may affected include Cooma, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Blayney, Orange, Lithgow, Oberon, Walcha, Armidale, Guyra and Glen Innes, although snow may briefly affect other towns at lower elevations.

Travelers: consider an alternate low level route on Sunday, travel on Saturday or wait until the snow has passed. Highways including the Great Western, Monaro, New England, Oxley, Hume and Snowy Mountains may close. Snow is likely to cause extensive local road closures above 700 metres. If you encounter snow, drive to the conditions and avoid sudden braking.

Check out safe driving in the snow here: http://www.mynrma.com.au/motoring-services/road-safety/safer-driving/country/snow.htm

Please avoid sightseeing and do not drive past road closed signs and obey the directions of the emergency services and local council.

Residents in affected areas: Be prepared for possible isolation and make sure you have a battery powered radio, torch and spare batteries. Have plenty of food, fuel, medicine and other essentials. The weight of heavy snow may bring down trees and branches so avoid standing under snow-laden trees. If snow causes trees and branches to damage your home or business, or block access to your property, call the NSW SES on 132 500 for emergency assistance. As power may be lost ensure that you have an alternate heating source that is safe to use indoors. Check out this good advice on safe heating from Fire and Rescue NSW http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/news.php?news=2304

Rural property owners: Farmers should move livestock to areas that offer protection from wind and snow. Rural properties, especially in higher and more remote areas, may be isolated for several days. Ensure you have enough food, fuel, medicine and other essential items. Don’t forget working animals and livestock.

Bushwalkers: Consider delaying treks on the ranges as possible blizzards, rain and gales will make bushwalking hazardous. Snow may cover tracks and make navigation difficult. Always carry an EPIRB and let someone know where you are going and when you will be returning.

If you require emergency help due to damage, isolation or loss of access due to the snow, call 132 500 if it is non-life threatening or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

For the latest NSW warnings visit the Bureau of Meteorology website here: http://bit.ly/1dPyboF

New South Wales #NSW | Emergency #Exercise in #Sydney CBD on Sunday 24 May

A major emergency management exercise will be carried out in the Sydney CBD tomorrow (Sunday 24 May) to test emergency management arrangements in case of an incident in the city

Exercise ‘Sydney CBD’ is a multi agency emergency management exercise involving more than 500 emergency service personnel commencing at 9:00am and concluding at midday.

The Sydney CBD Evacuation Sub Plan has been under review for the past 12 months and Sunday’s exercise is part of the review process and provides police and emergency service organisations with the guidance required in a range of events, including the need to move large numbers of people out of the city.

Those involved in the exercise include the NSW Police Force, Fire & Rescue NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Ambulance, Transport Management Centre, Transport for NSW, City of Sydney Council, NSW Health – Disaster/Crisis, the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services, Dept of Premier and Cabinet, and Surf Life Saving Australia.

300 volunteers from the RFS, SES and Surf Life Saving Australia will role play workers being evacuated.

New South Wales #NSW | Thank you to emergency services workers

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and Regional Recovery Coordinator Brigadier Darren Naumann today visited the Wyong State Emergency Service (SES) unit to thank volunteers who helped save lives and houses during the recent storms.

Mr Elliott said the NSW SES and other emergency services workers had been outstanding in the immediate aftermath and he was impressed with the recovery effort – but there is still a lot of work to do.

Wyong SES members have volunteered more than 5,000 hours to help the community in the past month and are continuing to respond to calls for assistance.

“Today, I have returned to the region to thank the brave men and women from the SES who continue to help their communities after the storms which hit NSW last month,” Mr Elliott said.

“I want to assure you that the recovery of storm-affected communities like Wyong is a priority for this Government and we will continue to support you – no matter how long it takes.”

Brigadier Naumann is helping prioritise the recovery response and has visited all 10 local government areas across the Hunter and Central Coast which have been declared natural disaster areas to understand their needs.

“Individuals and communities recover at different rates, but large parts of the region are back on their feet thanks to the efforts of SES volunteers and those of all response agencies,” Brigadier Naumann said.

“I would also like to congratulate all of the councils for rallying together and helping to drive the clean-up effort from the ground up.”

New South Wales #NSW | #Sydney #firefighters receive new high-tech helmets

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott today announced firefighters at City of Sydney Fire Station are the first to receive new cutting-edge helmets as part of a rollout to Fire and Rescue NSW’s (FRNSW) 6,800 fire officers.

Mr Elliott and FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins visited the station as firefighters were fitted and trained for the high-tech helmets – the most advanced in Australia.

The helmets have an integrated radio microphone and ear piece so firefighters can communicate with commanders and also be heard more clearly while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus.

They also feature lighting, adjustable eye protection and improved safety from heat and falling debris.

“Our 6,800 firefighters deserve the best equipment when they are protecting the people and property of NSW and this is why the Liberals & Nationals Government invested $7 million in these new helmets,” Mr Elliott said.

Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW firefighters used their frontline experience to provide guidance to the project team on the ‘jet-style’ design and features required in a helmet.

“We considered what we needed in our ideal firefighting helmet and then took it to industry so they could work with us on developing a solution,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“Firefighters deal with life-threatening situations on a daily basis and know exactly what equipment they need to battle complex firefighting and rescue operations.”

FRNSW firefighters in the Hunter will be fitted for the helmets in the coming weeks and the rollout to all FRNSW firefighters will be complete by the end of the year.

New South Wales #NSW | Travellers reminded to get #flu vax after #outbreaks aboard cruise ships

NSW Health is urging anyone thinking of taking a holiday cruise to be vaccinated against influenza at least two weeks prior to departure, following several recent outbreaks on board ships arriving in Sydney.

NSW is experiencing markedly increased flu activity this year. Obtaining the annual flu vaccination is sound advice for all members of the community whether they are planning to travel by sea or air.

Particular care should be taken by cruise passengers who may be at increased risk due to the large numbers of people frequently mingling from all parts of the world, for longer periods of time and in close proximity to another.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director, Communicable Diseases Branch, NSW Health, said since 1 February 2015, about 533 passengers and crew arriving in Sydney on board cruise ships have been recorded as having an influenza-like illness.

“Cruise ships have strong protocols in place for assessing, treating and isolating passengers and crew with suspected influenza, but the best form of prevention is vaccination,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“We strongly recommend that people who are planning to take a cruise make it a priority to visit their doctor and have the influenza vaccination at least two weeks before departure,” she said.

“This is especially important for pregnant women, the elderly and anyone who is at increased risk of pneumonia or other serious complications if they contract influenza,” she said.

On average, flu notifications over the first four months of this year have been more than double that of previous years.

“If you are showing symptoms of having influenza, it is very important that you take steps to avoid spreading it. This includes covering your face when you cough or sneeze and throwing used tissues in a rubbish bin. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and for at least 10 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub.”

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three main types of influenza virus that cause infection in humans – types A, B and C – and many sub-types or strains. Influenza can occur throughout the year but influenza activity usually peaks in winter.

The 2015 seasonal influenza vaccines for Australia have been updated to match the new strains of influenza A/H3N2 and influenza B that have been circulating during the Northern Hemisphere winter and which circulated in NSW during the 2014 season.

NSW Health is currently working with the cruise ship industry to promote the recommendation for influenza vaccination prior to travel among booked passengers.

For more information on the NSW Cruise Ship Health Surveillance Program, visit http://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Public_Health/CruiseShipProgram/surv.asp

For more information on influenza outbreaks in travel groups, visit http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Influenza_outbreaks_in_travel_groups.aspx

New South Wales #NSW | #Firefighters honoured for #humanitarian work

NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins have officially recognised the courage and commitment of firefighters and members of the public who risked their lives to help others during major emergencies in NSW and overseas.

Australian Humanitarian Overseas Service Medals have been presented to 68 FRNSW firefighters in recognition of their disaster relief efforts in the wake of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and as logistical experts during the Australian response to the 2009 Samoan tsunami.

Commissioner’s Commendations for Courageous Action and Meritorious Service were presented to 61 firefighters and workers who risked their lives and helped coordinate the response to the October 2013 bushfires. Four firefighters and four members of the community received commendations for their actions at other major fires and emergencies.

Mr Elliott praised the efforts of all those involved in the emergency response and said their courage, resilience, and professionalism helped save lives.

“These awards are an opportunity to formally acknowledge the actions of those who went above and beyond to help others and I commend them for their actions,” Mr Elliott said.

Commissioner Mullins said the distinguished Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal was awarded to 64 specialist rescue firefighters who were part of the Urban Search and Rescue deployment following the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

Four other firefighters also received Humanitarian Overseas Service Medals for their work during the Australian response to the Samoan tsunami in 2009 where they supported an Australian medical team.

“Firefighters who bravely battled extreme fire conditions and risked their lives to save others during the October 2013 bushfires were also recognised. Many of these firefighters put themselves at great peril to rescue stranded residents,” Commissioner Mullins said.

The courage of firefighters and members of the public were also recognised for their actions at several other fires and emergencies, including a house fire at Mount Druitt in October 2014 and a motorcycle accident at Mangrove Mountain in July 2014.

“The firefighters we have acknowledged are a credit to themselves, the community and the fire and rescue service. Their actions were exemplary and I am very proud to have them under my command,” Commissioner Mullins said.

New South Wales #NSW | #ExtremeWeather continues to wreak havoc in parts of the state – #NSWSES

The NSW SES continues to respond to requests for assistance from the flooding and damaging winds hat affected New South Wales last week.

The Service has now received at total of 21501 requests for emergency help, an increase of 365 with over 90% of the requests for assistance now cleared.

The SES in this period has received 37299 calls and undertaken 172 flood rescues.

A small number of properties in the Hunter remain isolated by floodwater in the Hinton Area, Torryburn and Hillsborough.

Ausgrid have advised that power has been restored to all but 280 customers.

Overnight heavy rain has commenced on the North Coast and the Mid-north Coast of the State. There have been 59 requests for assistance. The worst affected areas have been the Karuah Valley and Coffs Harbour with leaking roofs the main issue.

The NSW SES has deployed 811 personnel in the field, with the SES being assisted by the Victoria SES, ACT SES, SA SES, Tasmania SES and the Rural Fire Service, Country Fie Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.A Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, and Northern Tablelands, and damaging wind and surf for Northern Rivers (wind and surf due late Friday due to easterly winds) has been issued.

A Flood Watch for rivers from the Queensland border south to Nelson Bay, for minor to major flooding across various catchments has been issued.

People living and working along rivers and streams in the affected area areas are asked to lift pumps and relocate livestock and equipment to higher ground. If isolation is likely, stock up now on food, fuel, medicine and other essential items.

As flash flooding is a possibility, people are asked to not drive, ride or walk through floodwater. With 172 rescues over the past week the SES is imploring people to stay out of floodwater. Remember, if it’s flooded, forget it.

The NSW SES has one helicopter stationed at Maitland to assist with resupply. There are also several helicopters deployed to the north east of the State in preparation for the severe weather.

Ahead of the expected severe weather the SES urges people in affected communities to get their StormSafe and FloodSafe plans updated, including checking their roof, gutters and trees around their home and business.

For emergency Help in a flood or Storm Call 132 500.

In life threatening situations, Call 000 (TRIPLE ZERO)

Never enter floodwater and do not go sightseeing.

New South Wales #NSW | NSW #SES praise community response but warn of more predicted #severeweather

NSW SES has responded to just over 20,000 requests for assistance in just over seven days. With another potential weather system predicted to impact areas on the north coast of NSW, the SES is urging communities to prepare now.

NSW SES Commissioner Adam Dent said, “Now is the time for residents to prepare themselves and their homes to help reduce such impacts as we have seen across the Hunter and Sydney Regions last week.”

A low pressure trough and possible East Coast low may develop over North-East NSW during Thursday. The main impacts will be intense rainfall and strong winds on coastal areas including the Northern Rivers and Mid North coasts.

“We want to prevent further loss and significant damage so we are urging the community to do as much as they can now. Get your StormSafe plan updated, check your roofs, your gutters and the trees around your home. Make sure you, your family and your home are prepared,” Commissioner Dent added.

The incredible effort of volunteers from the NSW SES, alongside other agencies including NSW Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire Service, NSW Ambulance, NSW Police and the Volunteer Rescue Association, has been commended by the Premier Mike Baird, the Governor of NSW and the Assistant Prime Minister. Out of state assistance has also been remarkable with crews provided by Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

“The size of this operation and the response effort from volunteers, other emergency services and from interstate is unprecedented and a great demonstration of how emergency services can work collaboratively in the face of major disasters.” Added Commissioner Dent.For emergency help in floods and storms call 132 500. If the emergency is life threatening call 000 ‘triple zero’ immediately.

For information visit www.stormsafe.com.au and www.floodsafe.com.au