Tag Archives: New South Wales

New South Wales | SES crews have responded to more than 1,700 weather-related calls since Saturday

NSW SES volunteers have been busy overnight responding to more than 300 storm jobs across Sydney and the Illawarra after severe storms impacted the area.

Severe weather has been affecting New South Wales since Saturday which has seen the NSW SES receive 1,725 requests for assistance mainly for leaking and damaged roofs as well as trees down. Some of the worst affected areas have been in Sydney’s north in places like Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and the Hawkesbury and further south around Bankstown and Camden.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast more storms for later in the week, likely to affect much of eastern and southern NSW. The NSW SES is urging residents to prepare their properties now to limit the amount of storm damage.

Some things you can do now to be prepared is:

-Clean your gutters and downpipes

-Secure or put away any loose items around your yard or balcony

-Park your vehicle under cover or away from trees and power lines

-Stay up to date with all the latest weather information at www.bom.gov.au

For emergency help in a storm or flood call the NSW SES on 132 500. Dial 000 (triple zero) in life-threatening situations.

More StormSafe tips are available at: www.stormsafe.com.au

New South Wales | SES advises residents to prepare for heavy rain expected in Eastern NSW

After a week of severe storms in many areas of New South Wales, notably a new record of seven consecutive storms in Sydney, the weather is set to change again.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology a broad low pressure trough over northern New South Wales is expected to deepen during the second half of the week in response to an approaching upper-level system, then shift gradually northwards. Many eastern and northern districts are likely to see a resurgence of unsettled weather notably heavy rain and storms. For the latest forecast see: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/state.shtml

Rain, possibly heavy, will affect coastal NSW on Thursday as well as the Northern Tablelands and North West Slopes. On Friday the northern coastal areas and Northern Tablelands and North West Slopes will be affected. The BoM has forecast windy conditions in some coastal areas including Sydney (for Thursday).

This heavy rain may lead to local flooding and in country areas could make causeways dangerous. The NSW SES is asking people in affected areas to prepare now for the possible heavy rain by cleaning gutters and downpipes. Should a Flood Watch be issues, lift pumps and relocate livestock and equipment to higher ground. Do not drive through flooded causeways and stay out of flooded streams and rivers as water can be deeper and faster flowing than it looks and contain hidden snags and debris.

If you need more information on preparing for possible flooding, go to www.floodsafe.com.au

If you need emergency assistance in floods or storms, call 132 500 or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

New South Wales | NSW Ambulance celebrates annual graduation and recognizes courage

Nearly 260 NSW Ambulance paramedics officially graduated on Friday 5 December 2014, after becoming certified to practice across NSW, at the annual NSW Ambulance Graduation ceremony held at the Playhouse Theatre in the Sydney Opera House.

Those who also graduated included paramedics who gained specialty intensive and extended care skills, those who completed special operations, rescue or helicopter paramedic training, those who became  control centre operators and assistants, patient transport officers, and NSW Ambulance managers who completed the Ambulance Management Qualification.

Commissioner Ray Creen, Chief Executive NSW Ambulance, said the annual Graduation is always a proud day for our Organisation, which employs more than 4500 people – 90 per cent of whom work in frontline services.

“Graduation represents a significant point in every paramedic’s life, where they can look back on their hard work, dedication and training and set goals for their future career within NSW Ambulance” Commissioner Creen said.

During the ceremony 24 bravery and courage commendation awards were presented to both NSW Ambulance staff and community members who have displayed courage of a high order despite a major risk of injury to themselves.

“The courage and bravery of our staff never ceases to amaze me, as they go above and beyond the call of their everyday duty to provide exemplary patient care” Commissioner Creen said.

Among those acknowledged:

  • 5 staff who treated and supported a patient trapped under a bus for 2 hours in Sydney’s CBD on January 29, 2014
  • 7 paramedics who worked in a dangerous location to treat and extricate patients from a semi-trailer crash at Gloucester Tops on 5 February 2014.
  • A paramedic who assisted in the difficult cliff rescue of a rock climber in the Blue Mountains on May 24, 2014
  • 2 paramedics who restrained and disarmed a patient before treating them at Manyana on June 3, 2014
  • 2 paramedics who accessed and extricated a patient following a cliff fall at Stanwell Tops on October 31, 2013
  • 258 paramedics officially graduate after becoming certified to practice across NSW
  • 24 paramedics qualified as specialist Intensive Care Paramedics able to provide more advanced clinical care.
  • 10 paramedics qualified as specialist Extended Care Paramedics, which enables them to perform additional interventions in the out-of-hospital environment.
  • 46 control centre operators and 22 control centre assistants will be dispatched to one of our control centres in NSW to answer the more than 1.2 million Triple Zero (000) calls NSW Ambulance receives each year.
  • 20 Patient Transport Officers will help undertake patient transport and care to and from pre-arranged hospital and medical appointments.
  • 80 NSW Ambulance staff completed the nationally-recognised Ambulance Management Qualification course to further develop their leadership and management skills.
  • 10 paramedics qualified to join the Special Operations Team.
  • 15 paramedics completed Helicopter Paramedic training.
  • 9 paramedics completed rescue training which qualifies them to provide clinical care in challenging scenarios and landscapes.

With the average number of emergency responses per day increasing by 3.3 per cent in the past year, Commissioner Creen says it is important to maintain a strong frontline service with exceptional clinical expertise.

“On average, there are almost 3400 responses per day – that’s the equivalent of an ambulance responding to an incident somewhere in the state every 26 seconds.

“Our experienced paramedics who were acknowledged for their specialist training are part of our commitment to providing excellence in out-of-hospital care to the people of NSW.

“With a number of NSW Ambulance staff providing upwards of 30 years of service to the community; our newest graduates have joined an extremely proud profession.”

Special guests at the graduation included Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins and guest speaker Jesse Fink, Ambassador for Beyond Blue.

During 2014:

  • 258 paramedics officially graduate after becoming certified to practice across NSW
  • 24 paramedics qualified as specialist Intensive Care Paramedics able to provide more advanced clinical care.
  • 10 paramedics qualified as specialist Extended Care Paramedics, which enables them to perform additional interventions in the out-of-hospital environment.
  • 46 control centre operators and 22 control centre assistants will be dispatched to one of our control centres in NSW to answer the more than 1.2 million Triple Zero (000) calls NSW Ambulance receives each year.
  • 20 Patient Transport Officers will help undertake patient transport and care to and from pre-arranged hospital and medical appointments.
  • 80 NSW Ambulance staff completed the nationally-recognised Ambulance Management Qualification course to further develop their leadership and management skills.
  • 10 paramedics qualified to join the Special Operations Team.
  • 15 paramedics completed Helicopter Paramedic training.
  • 9 paramedics completed rescue training which qualifies them to provide clinical care in challenging scenarios and landscapes.
Emergency+ app

New South Wales | Emergency + app

emergencyplusEmergency+ was developed by the Triple Zero Awareness Work Group (TZAWG), a national body that represents emergency call-taking agencies and their government and industry partners throughout Australia.

The TZAWG identified that more than 66% of incoming calls to Triple Zero (000) are now made from mobile phones.

However, mobile callers often do not know exactly where they are, meaning call-processing times are longer and call-takers are then unavailable t take the next incoming emergency call.

The Emergency+ app uses the existing GPS functionality of smartphones to enable callers to provide emergency call-takers with their location information as determined by their smartphone.

When activated, the built-in accessibility features of a smartphone will describe aloud what appears on-screen, so a caller can use the app without seeing it.

Research also shows that few people know the State Emergency Services (SES) 132 500 or Police Assistance Line (PAL) 131 444 numbers, which means their default action is to call Triple Zero, needlessly tying up emergency call-takers.

The Emergency+ app provides users with the contact numbers and a short explanation of when to call the non-emergency numbers such as the Police Assistance Line and the SES national number.

This is to help members of the public dial the correct number, and reduce the number of calls to the Triple Zero service that should be directed to another service.

The Emergency+ app is available, free of charge, on iOS and Android devices through the Google Play store and Apple App Store.

iPhone – https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/emergency-+/id691814685?mt=8

Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.threesixtyentertainment.nesn

The app is also available in Japanese and Chinese (traditional and simplified), which will display based on the language preference set-up on the device

New South Wales | Enabled – Meet Liam Sims – SES volunteer with a disability

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Liam Sims of the NSW SES Kiama Unit is one person who is not letting his disability stand in the way of taking on challenging and exciting adventures – such as volunteering for the NSW SES.

Liam who has Cerebral palsy resulting in limited mobility down the right hand side of his body, started volunteering with the NSW SES almost six years ago and has not looked back. He has felt no limitations due to his disability while volunteering with the NSW SES.

“It’s humbling to know that I am treated as just one of the other guys in the Unit. The team forgets that I have my disability and I love that. I just get in and get on with the job which is helping the community,” said Liam.

During his time with the NSW SES Liam has responded to many weather events including the Kiama tornado which ripped through the close knit community in 2013. He recalls being woken by his SES pager at 3:00am that morning to start helping the local community.

Liam’s main volunteering role is field focused work where he goes out and responds to calls for help where members of the community houses have been damaged by floods and storms. Asked if he feels there are any limitations to his role in the field due to his disability he simply answers:

“I and my team know my limitations and if I think a situation is too dangerous I will happily say that I can’t do it and I will sit it out. That has rarely happen through as I just get on with it. The best way to describe how I live my life is that I have acquired skills in the NSW SES that a lot of able bodied people wouldn’t be able to do,” continued Liam.

Liam who works as a dementia nurse at a local dementia patient unit takes hold of the opportunities presented to him through volunteering with the NSW SES including completing the Road Crash Rescue course. One of his fondest memories so far with the NSW SES was attending the ‘Bungonia Bats’ training weekend where SES members participate in training exercises to perfect their skills including caving. The Team Leader adjusted the caving scenarios to ensure Liam could take part in the exercises – something he is feels very fortunate to have taken part in.

“The Leadership team in the NSW SES Kiama Unit has been great and has welcomed me into the team. If there is an exercise I can’t do they will adjust it to make sure I can be a part of the training exercise. They have been very supportive of my disability and they treat me just the same as any another person in the team, which I really appreciate,” Liam said.

New South Wales | Health alert issued with start of bat breeding season

NSW Health has urged people not to approach injured bats and flying foxes following three confirmed cases of the potentially fatal lyssavirus in NSW bats this year.

Over the past month, 32 people required rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) following high-risk exposures to potentially infected animals. Five of the people had reported local bat exposures while the remaining 27 people had animal bites or scratches while travelling overseas.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases Branch, said NSW Health is concerned that as we come into the bat birthing season (October and November), young and miscarried pups may be on the ground, prompting people to pick them up or attempt to rescue them.

“So far this year we have had three people who were bitten or scratched by bats that were later confirmed to have had the potentially deadly lyssavirus,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“This highlights the importance of avoiding bat bites and scratches. Lyssavirus infection can result in a rabies-like illness which is very serious and, if not prevented, is fatal.

“There have been three human cases of lyssavirus in Australia (all were in Queensland) and all three people died.”

Dr Sheppeard said the best protection against being exposed to deadly lyssaviruses is to avoid handling any bat in Australia, and any wild or domestic mammal in a rabies-endemic country. This includes bats and wild or domestic dogs, cats, and monkeys.

“People should avoid all contact with bats as there is always the possibility of being scratched or bitten and it leading to infection. You should always assume that all bats and flying foxes are infectious, regardless of whether the animal looks sick or not,” she said.

“Only people who have been fully vaccinated against rabies, use protective equipment and have been trained in bat handling should touch bats.

“When a bat is injured or in distress, do not attempt to rescue it. Contact the experts at WIRES on 1300 094 737.

“If someone is bitten or scratched by any type of bat they should thoroughly clean the wound for at least five minutes with soap and water as soon as possible, apply an antiseptic such as Betadine and seek urgent medical advice.

“They may require a series of injections to protect against lyssavirus infection and the first two need to be given as soon as possible. It is important you seek advice from your GP or local public health unit regarding treatment.”

For more information, visit: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Rabies-Australian-Bat-Lyssavirus-Infection.aspx

New South Wales | NSW SES winding down storm response after 2265 calls for assistance

Following the severe weather that affected the South Coast, Illawarra, Blue Mountains and Metropolitan area of Sydney on Tuesday, the NSW SES is expected to complete the remaining requests for assistance today. Most outstanding requests are in the southern suburbs of Sydney and the Illawarra.

A further 82 Requests for Assistance (RFAs) have been received since Wednesday afternoon, mainly across the Illawarra South Coast and Sydney Southern areas.

There have been a total of 2265 RFAs received for this event, with 90% of RFAs now complete. The remaining 10% will be attended to today by the NSW SES, with the expectation that these will be finalised today. Improved weather today will assist the clearing of these outstanding requests for assistance.

People who still require emergency assistance as a result of the storms should call the NSW SES on 132 500 or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

Some of the damage that was experienced from the storms could have been prevented by simple home maintenance. The NSW SES requests households and businesses to use the improved weather conditions to:

  • Clean gutters and downpipes
  • Trim back overhanging trees and branches
  • Check your roof is in good repair
  • Secure or put away loose items from yards and balconies when windy weather is expected
  • Park cars under cover away from stormwater drains

The NSW SES is again disappointed in the large number (85) of rescues that had to be undertaken. Many of these were people who deliberately entered floodwater. Please do not drive, ride or walk through floodwater. The SES advise to stay out of floodwater so we don’t have to get you out.

The assistance of the Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW Police, as well as local government and other agencies in attending to the requests for assistance is gratefully acknowledged.

New South Wales | Sydney storms – One very busy night for fire & rescue crews

Last night’s unprecedented extreme weather across Sydney and the Illawarra has seen Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) experience one of its busiest nights in history.

Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said FRNSW had taken 1,105 Triple Zero (000) calls from 6pm yesterday to 8am today.

“Last night every fire truck in the Sydney and Illawarra area responded to numerous emergencies from flood rescues to house fires caused by lightning strikes,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“We initially responded six fire trucks and 24 firefighters from Sydney to help the 17 crews in the Illawarra, who were all out on the road dealing with the incidents caused by the extreme weather. As the storm front moved over Sydney, crews from the Illawarra and the Central Coast travelled to Sydney to help deal with the influx of calls.

“At the height of the storm more than 100 fire trucks and nearly 500 firefighters were deployed to emergencies across Sydney.

“Because of the extremely high number of calls we were receiving, off-duty firefighters were recalled at around 9:30pm to staff eight additional fire engines, which were deployed across Sydney.

“At the peak of the bad weather last night – 9:30pm – we had 230 active emergencies at once.

“This morning we are assisting the NSW State Emergency Service with four fire trucks and 16 firefighters deployed to southern Sydney. This is on top of the dozens of firefighters out securing trees and wires across the greater Sydney area.”

Between 6pm and 8am, FRNSW firefighters responded to 970 emergencies, including
• 95 fires (including at least two fires started by lightning strikes at Kellyville and Normanhurst)
• 384 storm-related emergencies, including wires down, trees down and flooding, including a call to flooding over three levels at Wollongong Hospital at 6:16pm
• 87 rescues such as rescuing people from cars and homes, including a man who was rescued by firefighters at Warrawong after he was trapped underneath a tree at around 7pm
• 15 HAZMATS such as overflowing pipes
• 27 medical assistance emergencies
• 12 bush and grass fires (most likely started by lightning)
• 350 other callouts such as automatic fire alarms being set off by winds, power outages and heavy rain.

Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW would continue to provide support to the NSW SES during the protracted clean up operations.

“I can only praise firefighters and our other emergency service colleagues for their mighty effort,” he said.

“We’re also appealing to the public to only call Triple Zero if it is a genuine emergency For flood and storm assistance, call the NSW SES on 132 500,” he said.

New South Wales | NSW Ambulance launches new fleet of multi-purpose vehicles

Last week, Health Minister Jillian Skinner launched seven new Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) general ambulances to support paramedics and patients with special needs across the state.

Mrs Skinner and Smithfield MP Andrew Rohan met with paramedics at Fairfield Ambulance Station to launch the new MPV general ambulances, inspect MPV specialist ambulances and learn more about the different capabilities of the two vehicle models.

“The new vehicles, which have a fit out value of $152,000 each, ensure paramedics have the right support in place to provide emergency care to patients. They are equipped with mechanical aids in the lifting and management of patients to reduce health and safety risks.

“An added bonus of the new MPV general ambulances is they can be used for non-bariatric transport too.

“These new vehicles complement the investment we have made in MPV specialist ambulances, which are capable of transporting patients with a weight up to 500kg.

“These vehicles are an important investment as they deliver benefits for both patients and paramedics.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for the state’s paramedics and believe they should have the best resources available to carry out their life-saving work.”

Mrs Skinner said the allocation of these seven new MPV ambulances has enabled a five-fold increase in MPV coverage across regional NSW.

Mrs Skinner said in the past financial year 1,261 transports were undertaken by MPV specialist ambulances – an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.

“Clearly there is demand for these services and this is about ensuring the right resources are available for patients with extra needs,” Mrs Skinner said.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Michael Homden, Executive Director of Operational Logistics at NSW Ambulance, welcomed the addition of new ambulances to the growing MPV fleet.

“The rollout of these specialist ambulances is an example of how NSW Ambulance is providing infrastructure to meet an extensive range of patient needs in the community,” Mr Homden said.

Mrs Skinner said paramedic training for the new vehicles commenced this week in Fairfield and will continue throughout the state.

Photo (L-R): NSW Police Force Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Josef and NSW Ambulance Commissioner Ray Creen

New South Wales | NSW Ambulance motorcycle paramedic Josef Pichler wins Heroism Medal

Photo (L-R): NSW Police Force Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Josef and NSW Ambulance Commissioner Ray Creen
Photo (L-R): NSW Police Force Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Josef and NSW Ambulance Commissioner Ray Creen

Last week, Paramedic Josef Pichler became the winner of the Pride of Australia 2014: Heroism Medal.

The Pride of Australia Medal is one of News Corp Australia’s important community endeavours – recognising and rewarding the community’s most outstanding members.

The Heroism Medal recognises a member or members of the emergency services who have gone beyond the call of duty to protect the community.

Josef, a motorcycle paramedic, was recognised for his role when attending the 30 January 2014 incident, where a female was hit by a bus while crossing Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD.

First on the scene, Josef, aware that the patient was trapped underneath the bus, administered morphine to relieve her pain and stayed with her for over an hour while specialist services moved the bus.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Josef on his achievement and to recognise the outstanding work done by all paramedics and our other emergency service colleagues during the incident.