Tag Archives: New South Wales

New South Wales | NSW Health warning to be on alert for measles

NSW Health is warning the public to be alert to the symptoms of measles after a person infectious with the virus visited several busy parts of Sydney.

Dr Christine Selvey, Medical Epidemiologist, Communicable Diseases Branch at NSW Health says a young adult who recently returned from India, spent time at the Macquarie Centre, Moore Park, Meadowbank and Westmead Hospital while infectious during the past week.

“The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically around 10 days but it can be as long as 18 days, so people who were exposed could have symptoms already or develop them over the next week,” Dr Selvey said.

“Measles is highly infectious and contagious for people who are not fully immunised. It is easily spread through coughing and sneezing.

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

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

Dr Selvey advised parents of infants or other people who aren’t fully vaccinated against measles who have visited the same Sydney locations as the affected individual, to be on the lookout for symptoms.

“If symptoms develop please phone ahead when seeking medical attention to ensure you don’t share the waiting area with other patients,” she said.

“Measles is now a rare disease but it is important to emphasise that with people returning from holidays from parts of the world where measles is still common, we can expect to see more cases in NSW and people who have not had two doses of vaccine may be at risk.

“We encourage anyone who has not previously been vaccinated to do so before they travel. Children should receive two doses of vaccine, one at 12 months and the second at 18 months. Anyone born after 1965 should have two doses of vaccine (at least 4 weeks apart).”

“If you haven’t already been immunised, NSW Health offers free MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine through GPs for people born after 1965.”

New South Wales | NSW SES welcomes new Commissioner

Vital signs:

  • Adam Dent, new Commissioner for NSW SES
  • Former Director of Relief and Recovery at Emergency Management Victoria
  • Leadership role in Australian Red Cross in Victoria State

The NSW SES has started the New Year by welcoming its new Commissioner, Adam Dent to the fold. Commissioner Dent takes over from Acting Commissioner, Jim Smith who will return to his position of Deputy Commissioner at Fire and Rescue NSW.

“I have a passion for leadership, resilience-building and, in particular, working with volunteers so this new role gives me an incredible opportunity to lead a diverse and highly skilled volunteer organisation,” Commissioner Dent said.

“I would like to thank Jim Smith for his leadership of this tremendous organisation, particularly at a time when we’ve had one of the busiest storm seasons with our volunteers responding to more than 13,000 storm and flood tasks already.”

“My role is to support our members in the field who work tirelessly to keep their communities safe but people can do their part to support our volunteers by preparing themselves for severe weather to limit the amount of damage suffered in a storm,” he said.

Adam brings a strong background of emergency management knowledge to the NSW SES having been Director of Relief and Recovery at Emergency Management Victoria. Prior to that, Adam spent seven years at Australian Red Cross, leading a program that saw the organisation grow its role in the emergency management sector.

At Red Cross, Adam led around 3,000 volunteers and staff across Victoria who provided support to communities before, during and after emergencies. Of note was his leadership role in the Red Cross’ emergency response to the Black Saturday bushfires, implementing new approaches to long term community recovery after this devastating natural hazard.

Adam comes from Morwell in country Victoria but has spent the majority of his career-life in Melbourne.

“I have seen both sides of country and city life and now call Wollongong my home where the NSW SES headquarters are situated,” he said.

Adam has a Master of Business Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Management and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

I feel privileged to have been appointed to the position of Commissioner with an organisation that gives so much to the people of NSW,” he added. “I am excited about having the opportunity to work with so many dedicated NSW SES members to help them continue on with the fantastic work they do to protect their communities.”

New South Wales | SES update on response to Christmas Day storms

NSW SES volunteers have been responding to around 120 calls for emergency assistance on Christmas Day with severe storms resulting in damage in many areas of eastern New South Wales, especially in south western Sydney.

The worst affected areas of the State have been the Camden and Campbelltown areas as well as the Blue Mountains. Most damage has been leaking roofs as well as fallen trees and branches bringing down power lines and causing mostly minor damage to homes and sheds as well as blocking driveways and roads.

SES volunteers will be working this evening to undertake temporary repairs to affected properties as well as restoring access.

With further storms forecast on Boxing Day in the north east of the State, the SES recommends people in affected areas visit www.stormsafe.com.au for hints and tips on being storm safe and prepared, with the latest weather information and warnings from www.bom.gov.au/nsw

For emergency help call the SES on 132 500 or call 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

New South Wales | NSW govt announces new SES Commissioner

Today the NSW Government announced the appointment of Mr Adam Dent as the new Commissioner of the NSW SES.

The NSW SES congratulates Mr Dent on his appointment as the Service’s new Commissioner.

Mr Dent is responsible for leading the reform of relief and recovery arrangements in Victoria as a part of the broader emergency management reform program. This includes creating a coherent strategic framework for relief and recovery coordination that provides improved scalability and partnerships, streamlining governance and coordination arrangements, review, development and implementation of an end-to-end impact assessment system and developing crisis communications and community engagement arrangements.

Mr Dent was previously the State Manager Emergency Services at Australian Red Cross for seven years and led a program of change that saw Red Cross grow its role in the Emergency Management Sector.  At Red Cross Mr Dent led over 3,000 volunteers and staff across Victoria, providing support to communities before, during and after emergencies.  He led the Red Cross’ largest ever emergency response to Black Saturday, the 10/11 floods and played leadership roles in significant interstate events including Cyclone Yasi and the Tasmanian Fires.  Mr Dent implemented new approaches to long-term community recovery following Black Saturday with his team achieving international recognition for innovation in recovery. He is passionate about volunteers, leadership and resilience building.

Mr Dent will be commencing with the NSW SES on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

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