Tag Archives: New South Wales

New South Wales | Strong winds persist across south east NSW

NSW SES teams have had another busy night responding to more than 500 jobs across Sydney and the Illawarra. Worst hit areas have been widespread across Sydney including suburbs like Blacktown, St Marys, Baulkham Hills and on Sydney’s northern beaches.Around 300 of the jobs have been for trees down, including a large tree that hit five cars and an ambulance at the Liverpool Ambulance station.  Damage to roofs and buildings has also occurred, with a house at Windsor losing its entire roof yesterday afternoon.

The NSW SES has had over 100 teams in the field, with 300 volunteers working throughout yesterday and into last night assisting affected properties with emergency temporary repairs. The hardworking volunteers will be out again today as the response continues.

The Bureau of Meteorology has advised that windy conditions will persist throughout the day, easing later in the afternoon. Although Sydney has been taken off the Severe Weather Warning, strong winds are still expected to be a feature of today across the city. The Severe Weather Warning  remains in place for the Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and ACT forecast districts. Blizzard conditions are possible near alpine areas of the Snowy Mountains this morning with snow from above 900 metres, retreating to above 1100 metres later today.

As these strong winds continue, the NSW SES is advising people to:

  • Stay indoors away from windows, bring children and pets inside
  • Stay clear of fallen trees and power lines
  • Put away or secure loose items around the yard or balcony that can blow around in windy conditions.
  • Park vehicles under cover or away from trees and power lines
  • Do not go sightseeing

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

For more information go to www.stormsafe.com.au

New South Wales | Severe winter weather forecast for the weekend

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

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

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

To view all current warnings for NSW click here

During strong winds people should:

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

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

New South Wales | Severe weather – Windstorm update from NSWSES

Across New South Wales up to 400 NSW SES volunteers have been active in responding to damage caused by damaging winds during Tuesday and overnight into today. Winds have eased, but some damage is still being reported.

The NSW SES has now received 1280 requests for assistance from the public, with the worst affected areas being the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and the Blue Mountains as well as the Sydney Metropolitan. Most requests for assistance have related to trees and branches brought down by the winds. These have generally caused minor property damage with some more significant damage in some areas.

Today the NSW SES has attended a variety of requests for assistance ranging from trees on powerlines and driveways to property damage. At Kiama High School, NSW SES attended in response to a tree in the playground with the potential to fall into the playground and onto electrical infrastructure. At Our Lady Star of the Sea School at Miranda, the NSW SES attended due to a large branch blocking classroom access. Roof damage has occurred at Narraweena Primary School after a skylight was damaged.

The Wingecarribee SES Unit, volunteers attended a wall collapse, rescuing a trapped man and undertaking shoring of the structure.

The NSW SES will continue today to provide emergency temporary repairs to affected properties. If you have damage and require emergency assistance, call 132 500, or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

The Bureau of Meteorology has advised that winds will remain severe and potentially damaging in the Snowy Mountains and the South Coast tonight and into Thursday, but ease to below severe thresholds elsewhere. The latest warning is available here: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/

With more wind likely this weekend, there are several things that you can do to prepare your property. This includes:

•             Parking your cover under cover

•             Checking your roof is in good repair

•             Trimming back overhanging trees and branches where safe to do and permitted by your Council

•             Putting away or securing loose items that can blow around in windy conditions.

For more information go to www.stormsafe.com.au

New South Wales | Severe weather extending to Coast and Central Ranges

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

Damaging winds around 60 to 80 km/h with peak gusts of 90 to 110 km/h are forecast. Alpine Peaks may experience winds around 90 to 110 km/h with peak gusts around 130 km/h.

A warning to all Sheep Graziers of the Australian Capital Territory, Riverina, Northern Tablelands, South Coast, Illawarra, Central West Slopes & Plains, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains, Southern Tablelands and Central Tablelands is also in place. Sheep Graziers are warned that cold temperatures, showers and strong westerly winds are expected during Monday and Tuesday. There is a high risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions.

All current warnings can be viewed here

So that means

  • *Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
  • *Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
  • *Keep clear of fallen power lines.
  • *Bring children and pets indoors
  • *Make sure you roof is in good repair

If you require emergency assistance caused by the damaging wind conditions, please call the NSW SES on 132 500. If the situation is life threatening call triple zero (000).

New South Wales | ICAC finds NSW SES Commissioner corrupt, recommends dismissal

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Commissioner Murray Kear engaged in corrupt conduct through failing to properly investigate allegations against Deputy Commissioner Steven Pearce, and by dismissing Deputy Commissioner Tara McCarthy from her employment with the SES substantially in reprisal for her making allegations against Mr Pearce.

In its report, Investigation into the conduct of the commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service, released today, the Commission finds that Commissioner Kear deliberately failed to properly investigate allegations made by Ms McCarthy against Mr Pearce, in relation to the circumstances in which the SES entered into two contracts, the use of SES funds to purchase roof racks and electric brakes for Mr Pearce’s car, the obtaining of an SES vehicle for an SES manager, and the potential falsification of diary entries, because of his friendship with Mr Pearce.

The Commission is of the opinion that the minister for police and emergency services should give consideration to taking action against Commissioner Kear for disciplinary offences of misconduct with a view to his dismissal.

The report notes that on 14 May 2013, Commissioner Kear dismissed Ms McCarthy from her position as an SES deputy commissioner and told Ms McCarthy that he had decided to dismiss her because he had lost trust and confidence in her. Ms McCarthy contacted the ICAC the following day and alleged that, amongst other things, she had been dismissed by Commissioner Kear following reports she had made to him that Mr Pearce may have engaged in corrupt conduct. Mr Kear contacted the Commission on 17 May 2013 and said that he anticipated that Ms McCarthy would complain to the ICAC about her dismissal but that there was no substance to her allegations of impropriety.

The Commission is satisfied that Commissioner Kear dismissed Ms McCarthy substantially because of the allegations she had made against Mr Pearce. In coming to that conclusion, the ICAC has considered that Ms McCarthy was performing satisfactory work at the time of her dismissal – a matter acknowledged by Commissioner Kear – and a pattern of partial treatment of Mr Pearce by Commissioner Kear leading up to Ms McCarthy’s dismissal.

The report notes that Commissioner Kear and Mr Pearce were both former officers of what is known as Fire and Rescue NSW and had known each other from at least 2006. Commissioner Kear admitted to the ICAC that he and Mr Pearce had been friends and mates since 2008, although he stated previously that he did not have a longstanding friendship with Mr Pearce. Commissioner Kear sat on the original interview panel when Mr Pearce first applied to join the SES, but did not disclose a conflict of interest.  Mr Pearce was not appointed at that time, but was later appointed by Commissioner Kear from a reserve list that Commissioner Kear activated, again without declaring a conflict of interest. He also failed to disclose the friendship between himself and Mr Pearce while he dealt with Ms McCarthy’s complaints about Mr Pearce’s conduct.

The Commission found that Ms McCarthy made a number of public interest disclosures to Commissioner Kear, including in relation to Mr Pearce’s credit card misuse and his inappropriate conduct with respect to two contracts. The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Commissioner Kear for an offence under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 of taking detrimental action in reprisal for a person making a public interest disclosure.

The ICAC held a public inquiry as part of the investigation over four days commencing on 3 December 2013. Former Commissioner the Hon David Ipp AO QC presided at the public inquiry, at which nine witnesses gave evidence.

Investigation report

New South Wales | NSW SES Volunteers clock up 90,000 hours in storm season

As the official storm season draws to a close today, statistics are being tallied showing that NSW SES volunteers spent over 90,000 hours responding to storm jobs across the state.

During the storm season volunteers gave up their time from work and family to attend to more than 12,000 jobs where trees were down or roofs were leaking or damaged. The majority of storm damage was seen in areas across Sydney, the Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra regions.

NSW SES Acting Commissioner Jim Smith has reminded people not to be complacent even though the storm season has ended.

“We’ve seen severe weather affect Sydney and surrounding areas last week and over the weekend and we could see further storms throughout the year. It goes to show you that storms can happen anywhere at any time so people should be prepared for that,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology has indicated that the storm season started slowly but has been more active than usual towards its close.

“Initially conditions were too dry for thunderstorms to form, however there were still some severe thunderstorms including several that involved tornados. The most notable were in Hornsby on 18 November 2013, at least four tornados in the Guyra area on 23 November 2013 and a tornado near Cooma on 26 December 2013,” said Andrew Treloar, Manager of the Bureau’s NSW Forecasting Centre.

“The active finish to the thunderstorm season is a reminder that although storms become less frequent in the cooler months, severe thunderstorms are not restricted to the designated storm season. The most costly hailstorm in Australian history, for example, occurred in mid-April 1999,” Mr Treloar said.

Storm damage from strong winds and heavy rain were the dominant feature however volunteers were called out to more than 45 flood rescues during the storm season. Of those 45 flood rescues, 28 were carried out last week when flash flooding swept across Sydney and the Illawarra. Most flood rescues involved people trapped in their cars by rising floodwater.

“It is worrying that we still see people deliberately going into floodwater, putting their lives and the lives of our volunteers at risk,” Acting Commissioner Smith said. “Drivers should pull over to the side of the road and wait for the water to subside or turn around and find an alternate route.”

The official storm season runs from 1 October to 31 March but the NSW SES is encouraging people to prepare their homes now to limit the amount of damage suffered in severe weather.

Some of the things people can do now to be prepared include:

  • Maintain your yard and balcony
  • Clean your gutters
  • Trim overhanging branches
  • Make sure your roof is in good condition
  • Check your insurance is up to date
  • Make an emergency plan
  • Prepare an emergency kit if you lose power or need to leave home in a hurry
  • Listen to your local radio station for updated storm information

More StormSafe advice is available at: www.stormsafe.com.au 

For emergency help in a flood or storm call 132 500. Dial 000 in a life threatening emergency.

New South Wales | Busiest bush fire season in years declared over

“This was the busiest season the Service has seen in over a decade, with damaging fires occurring as early as August.

“NSW RFS crews responded to more than 14,956 incidents from August to March, including more than 6,643 bush, grass and scrub fires which burnt an area half the size of Greater Sydney (599,398 ha).

Commissioner Fitzsimmons reflected on 13 to 26 October as a particularly challenging period with 216 homes destroyed across the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Port Stephens.

“The Winmalee and Yellow Rock communities in the Blue Mountains were the hardest hit with 195 homes destroyed in a matter of hours,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“Once again thousands of firefighters worked around the clock to protect life and property as part of a coordinated firefighting effort including Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife, Forestry Corporation NSW, along with their interstate fire colleagues, NSW Police and the wider NSW emergency management community.

“Sadly this season two lives were lost. Walter Linder who suffered a heart attack while protecting his home near Lake Munmorah and pilot David Black, whose waterbombing plane crashed whilst firefighting near Ulladulla.

“The loss of both these men was felt deeply by their local community and the NSW RFS community alike. Our thoughts continue to be with their family and friends.”

Not only have NSW RFS volunteers been working hard here in NSW, but more than 1400 personnel were deployed to South Australia and Victoria.

“Throughout the season NSW RFS volunteers have taken time away from their families, jobs and communities to help others. For this they deserve our sincere thanks and gratitude.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons also acknowledged the public’s efforts to prepare themselves and their families, noting that this season a record number of Bush Fire Survival Plans were downloaded.

“This season we introduced the MyFirePlan smartphone application which complements the existing Bush Fire Survival Plan and has made safety information even more readily available,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“The public appetite for information was again considerable this season, including the localised information provided through public meetings which often had more than 1000 people present.

“During October alone the NSW RFS website had around 5.7 million visits, our Facebook posts reached more than 45 million people and NSW RFS Twitter posts were retweeted 18,300 times, enabling us to reach more people than ever before.

“It is encouraging to see the community engaging with fire information and taking their safety seriously.”

NSW | Flood update – Friday afternoon – 28 March 2014

The NSW SES has been responding to over 50 requests for assistance as a result of flooding in the North East of the State. Most requests are for leaking roofs, sandbagging and there have been two flood rescues.

Rain has eased in the Northern Rivers area but flooding along the Richmond and Wilsons rivers later today is still expected. At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of uncertainty over how much more rain will fall. The Wilsons River at Lismore will exceed minor flood level (4.2 metres AHD) around midnight tonight and reach 5.8 metres AHD early Saturday with minor flooding.At Coraki it will reach 3.9 metres early Sunday with minor flooding and at Bungawalbin Will reach 3.0 metres early Sunday with minor flooding

At 4.36m Slater Creek may back up and inundate Pitt Street near the Richmond River Sports Oval in North Lismore. Between 5.10 to 5.30m Water starts to cover Simes Bridge. Alternative routes available between North Lismore and Lismore include:

Alexandra Parade, Tweed Street, Terania Street, the southern end of Bridge Street and over the bridge to Woodlark Street. Or Alexandra Parade, Tweed Street, Wilson Street via the Robert White Bridge, Casino Street, Union Street then via Woodlark Street or the Bruxner Highway.

At 5.71m Bridge Street, near McKenzie Park in North Lismore is inundated by water backing up Slater Creek. This does not affect the alternate routes from North Lismore. Junction Street, between the southern ends of Molesworth and Keen streets, maybe covered by water backing up Gasworks Creek. This may occur as a result of stormwater flooding.

In the Tweed Valley, rain has eased considerably since 9 am this morning. River levels at Uki and Eungella peaked early this morning. The main flood peak in the Tweed River is currently near Brays Park Weir and is expected to reach Murwillumbah around noon today with minor flooding. On the Tweed River the community of Uki is isolated, this may last into Saturday. Minor flooding near Murwillumbah is not expected to have any significant consequences.

On the Brunswick River the communities of The Pocket and Upper Main Arm are isolated, as are properties on the lower valley. This is affecting around 2,000 people. The isolation is expected to be short lived as conditions are easing.

For the Namoi River, the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that a flood height of 5.40 metres will be reached at Wee Waa with minor flooding, possibly along Blackgate Gully, Vera’s Leap and Trindals Lane.At this height a number of rural roads in these areas will be affected by floodwater or impassable. Farmers and residents in low-lying areas that may experience minor flooding should secure pumps and other equipment and move livestock to high ground.

For information on preparing for flooding visit the FloodSafe website at www.floodsafe.com.au

For information on river heights, weather radar, rainfall figures and river warnings visit www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings

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

New South Wales | More firefighters deployed to assist Victoria

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher has this afternoon joined Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins to farewell a group of about 35 firefighters deployed to Victoria to assist the Victorian Fire Services who have been battling a large bush fire for several weeks.

Minister Gallacher said he was impressed by the collaboration between the Victorian, NSW and other interstate fire services.

“This group of firefighters is among more than 200 FRNSW firefighters deployed to Victoria to assist their firefighting efforts.

“This summer has seen a huge deployment of firefighters and resources to both Victoria and South Australia with hundreds of firefighters from Fire & Rescue NSW and more than a thousand firefighters and dozens of trucks and aircraft from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“It is a testament to the expertise of FRNSW that NSW is able to provide such a significant resource commitment to Victoria while maintaining the delivery of fire and emergency services in NSW.”

Commissioner Mullins said the deployment, the first of its kind to see FRNSW firefighters and fire engines working at interstate fire stations, was providing vital assistance to firefighters in Victoria while at the same time providing FRNSW firefighters with a unique learning experience.

“Since last Wednesday, 10 FRNSW engines and crews have been stationed at Country Fire Authority fire stations as local firefighters deal with the mine fire. This arrangement will continue until at least 11 March 2014.

“FRNSW firefighters have been staffing fire stations in Frankston, Patterson River, Dandenong, Traralgon, Morwell, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat City, Corio and Geelong City, freeing up hundreds of CFA firefighters to respond to the mine fire at Hazelwood”, said Commissioner Mullins.

“Our firefighters have had the opportunity to work alongside their Victorian counterparts, using different equipment and responding to a range of emergencies, which is great way for them to develop their own skills as firefighters.

“I’d like to thank the people of Victoria and the CFA, who have welcomed the FRNSW crews into their towns and made them feel right at home.

Minister Gallacher said the NSW Government would continue to provide support interstate for as long as it was required.

“The commitment of our paid and volunteer firefighters to help our neighbours in need is truly heart-warming,” Minister Gallacher concluded.

New South Wales | Emergency management exercise register launched

Conducting well prepared and coordinated exercises, in addition to testing emergency plans and Standing Operating Procedures, leads to better mutual understanding and cooperation between the various components of the State’s emergency management structure.

Exercises are conducted at a region and state level and may be agency specific or multi-agency.

Multi-agency Emergency Management and Rescue Exercises in NSW scheduled for 2014 are now available on this website.

More on the Exercise Register