Tag Archives: New South Wales

New South Wales | 100 spider bite incidents in January prompt safety warning

NSW Ambulance is calling on people to remain vigilant about the potential for spider bites after paramedics attended almost 100 cases in January.

The total – 98 cases in all – represented an increase on last year’s January total of 81.

NSW Ambulance Superintendent Alan Morrison said that, for the 13 months January 2014 to January 2014, 589 incidents were attended by paramedics. This included 73 funnel web spider bites – 63 incidents in 2014 and 10 in January this year.

Superintendent Alan Morrison said funnel webs, which are Australia’s deadliest spider, are active year-round, although they reached peaks in January this year (10 incidents), followed by March and November (nine each), December (eight) and April (seven).

He said the peaks for overall spider incidents occurred in January 2015 and December (98 incidents each), followed by January 2014 (81), November (70), and December and March (59).

In terms of location, attendance for funnel web incidents was highest in the north of NSW (23), followed closely by Sydney’s north (22), and Sydney’s west (12).

Supt Morrison said incidents overall were highest in Sydney’s west with 107 cases being recorded in 13 months, followed by Sydney’s north and south-west/Illawarra sectors – both with 103 incidents.

Funnel web incidents included:
• January 1, 2014 – A 20-year-old Casino woman was transported to Casino Memorial Hospital after being bitten on the neck.
• March 13 – a 19-year-old man was transported to Bowral Hospital after being bitten on the forearm at Bundanoon.
• April 26 – a 20-year-old man was transported to Royal North Shore Hospital after being bitten on the finger at Longueville.
• April 25 – a 52-year-old Balgowlah man was bitten on the finger while cleaning out a gutter. He was transported to Manly Hospital for treatment.
• August 4 – a 40-year-old woman was transported to Sutherland Hospital after being bitten on the finger at Bundeena.
• January 28, 2015 – a 33-year-old man at Whitebridge was bitten on the neck and transported to Calvary Mater Hospital in a serious condition.

For treatment of funnel web spider bites, Supt Morrison advises:
• call Triple Zero (000) and ask for Ambulance;
• if the bite is on a limb, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. The bandage should not cut off the circulation;
• if the bite is not on a limb, apply direct, firm pressure to the bite site with your hands. Keep the patient still and discourage them from walking around; and
• remember, never cut or excise the wound and do not attempt to suck the venom out. And do not apply a tourniquet.

For all other spiders (eg redbacks, white-tails, trapdoors):
• apply an ice pack or cold compress to relieve the pain; and
• if severe symptoms develop, seek medical aid; and
• in the case of small children involved in a suspected redback spider bite, medical aid should be sought, irrespective of whether symptoms manifest

New South Wales | NSW Health renews warning of hepatitis A risk linked to frozen berries

NSW Health is warning people to watch for symptoms of hepatitis following reports of at least nine cases of hepatitis A in Australia linked to Nanna’s frozen mixed berries.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of NSW Health’s Communicable Diseases Branch, urged consumers to take heed of the recall of several lines of frozen berries sold under the brand names ‘Nanna’s’ and ‘Creative Gourmet’.

“The NSW Food Authority advises consumers to return these products to the place of purchase for a full refund, or discard them,” Dr Sheppeard said.

”Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can be passed from person to person, or come from food or water contaminated with the virus.

“Each year 40 to 80 cases are reported in NSW, however the infection is almost always acquired overseas as hepatitis A is common in most developing countries.”

Symptoms of hepatitis A commence two to seven weeks after exposure to an infectious person or after eating contaminated food. Early symptoms are fever, nausea and loss of appetite. After several days jaundice can develop which is noticed by yellowing of the eyeballs and skin, or dark urine and pale stools, sometimes accompanied by diarrhoea.

“An investigation by all health agencies is underway, but at this early stage we are not sure how many people may be affected,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Given that these brands of frozen berries are widely distributed products there is the potential that others may be sick with hepatitis A now, or develop the disease over the coming weeks.

“It is important that if people have the symptoms of hepatitis they see their doctor for testing, especially if they have eaten this product in the last two months. They should also take steps to not spread the infection by careful hand washing and not handling food or providing personal care to others until they receive advice from their doctor.”

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A and people sometimes require hospitalisation for supportive care. Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccination. Two doses of vaccine provide lifetime protection. People exposed to hepatitis A can be protected from developing the disease if they receive the vaccine or protective antibodies within two weeks.

For more information about hepatitis A see NSW Health website:


For current information on the food recalls see NSW Food Authority website:


New South Wales | Flooding update Saturday morning 21 Feb 2015

The NSW SES continues to respond to severe weather in the north east of the state. A trough ahead of ex-tropical cyclone Marcia resulted in heavy rain during Friday with widespread falls of 50 – 150mm recorded.

The heavy rain eased around 10pm on Friday evening, however, the Bureau of Meteorology have advised redevelopment of the rain mid-morning Saturday with 100-150mm widespread across the Northern Rivers possible, with local higher totals to 300mm. The BoM have advised that the rain should clear to showers by early Sunday. There will also be rain on the Mid-North Coast, with falls lighter than those in the Northern Rivers.

For the latest weather information go to www.bom.gov.au

A severe Weather Warning is current for coastal erosion, flash flooding and damaging winds. Severe Weather Warning http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/severe.shtml

People living in areas affected by coastal erosion should monitor the situation carefully.

Overnight some damaging winds occurred along the coastal fringe, with a gust at 9:30pm of 106km/hr at Byron Bay. The heaviest falls included Couchy Creek 156mm (Tweed catchment), Ballina 122mm, Terania Creek 143mm (Wilsons catchment) and Murwillumbah 106mm.

Flood warnings for minor to moderate flooding are current for the Wilsons, Brunswick and Tweed Rivers. No evacuations are required from currently predicted river heights. People living and working along affected rivers and tributaries are however asked to lift pumps and to relocate livestock and equipment to higher ground. If isolation is likely stock up on food, fuel, medicine and other essential items.

• Flood Warning Tweed http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDN36601.html • Flood Warning Brunswick http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDN36602.html • Flood Warning Wilsons http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDN36602.html

The NSW SES has received 624 requests for assistance from the start of the event.  The majority of these have related to the distribution of sandbags, sandbagging of affected properties, leaking roofs and minor property damage caused by strong winds. There was one flood rescue for cattle in floodwater.

The SES has received 348 calls relating to flood assistance and 251 relating to damage caused by wind/storm.

The areas most affected have been Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Mullumbimby, Tweed Heads, Lismore and Grafton.The NSW SES has 61 teams of volunteers available to assist the community including 30 flood Level 3 rescue techs with other support including logistics, operations, media, storm, and flood rescue technicians.

Safety messaging:• Prepare your home now by securing or putting away loose items around the yard or balcony• Trim any overhanging branches• Check your roof is in good repair• Move your vehicle under cover or away from trees and power lines• Stay clear of flooded areas and never ride, drive or walk through floodwater.• Stay in doors away from windows during strong winds and bring children and pets with you• Stay clear of fallen trees and powerlines• Do not go sightseeing • For more information on being flood safe, go to www.floodsafe.com.au

Call 132 500 for emergency assistance or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

New South Wales | Commemorating 60 years since the 1955 Hunter Valley flood

February 2015 will mark the 60th anniversary of the highest and most destructive flood on record in the Hunter Valley, which saw thousands of people rescued, hundreds of homes washed away or destroyed, and 14 lives lost.

A series of commemorative events will be delivered by the NSW State Emergency Service Hunter Region (NSW SES) and Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) throughout February to commemorate the anniversary of the 1955 Hunter Valley flood.

Workshops, guided walking tours, exhibitions and bus tours are among these events, providing the community with an opportunity to learn about Maitland’s flooding history, while increasing their awareness of the current day flood risk in Maitland and how to prepare for  potentially dangerous flood events.

NSW SES Hunter Region Controller Amanda Williamson said ‘The commemoration is important to not only reflect on the unprecedented flooding that affected so many in the Hunter community, but to remember that major floods are not events which remain in our past, they pose a real, modern day threat to the community. Major floods the size of those we experienced in 1955 will happen again’.

‘Free workshops will be available as part of the commemorative activities, and I encourage the local community to attend to learn about our flood risk, discover how the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme operates in times of flooding, and what actions they can take now to better prepare their homes for future natural disasters,’ Ms Williamson continued.

The Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme is partly funded through Hunter Catchment Contributions, a catchment levy managed by Hunter Local Land Services and collected through local council rates.

Hunter Local Land Services General Manager Brett Miners said ‘Something positive that came out of the 1955 tragedy was the passing of the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Act, which was constructed the following year’.

‘As a result, Maitland now has a comprehensive system of spillways, levees, control banks and designated floodways designed to lessen the impact of floods. Hunter Local Land Services continues to fund the maintenance of the mitigation scheme today,’ Mr Miners said.

‘The scheme cannot protect against all the impacts of major floods, so we encourage the community to attend the commemorative events and find out more about flooding in the Hunter Valley and how they can best prepare for it,’ Mr Miners said.

Program of Events www.lls.nsw.gov.au/hunter

Walk and Talk Flood Tours

Join an early morning walking tour around the 1955 Maitland flood sites. There are two tours to choose from. Cost is $10 per person. Bookings required – 4931 3222.

Sun 15 Feb, 7-9:30am, Mount Pleasant St and the Long Bridge, Maitland

FloodSafe Workshops

Are you prepared for flooding? Learn about local flood risks and discover how to develop your own emergency plan. Entry is free.  Bookings required – 4931 3222.

Wed 18 Feb, 5-6:30pm, East Maitland Library

Thurs 19 Feb, 10-11:30am, East Maitland Library

Sat 21 Feb, 10-11:30am, Maitland Town Hall

1955 Hunter Valley Flood Exhibition

See interactive displays, learn how to prepare for flooding and watch Cinesound and Movietone footage. Entry is free. Official opening on Sat 21 Feb at 9am

Sat 21 – Sun 22 Feb, 9am – 4pm, Maitland Town Hall

Maitland Floodways Tours

Join a bus tour and learn how the Lower Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme operates in times of flooding to reduce the impact of floods in Maitland. Book at Maitland Town Hall on the day. Sat 21 Feb & Sun 22 Feb – tours depart: 10am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm

Hunter River Life art exhibition, Brough House, Church St, Maitland

View works of art and natural history by local artist Julianne Tilse.

Sun 8 Feb & 15 Feb, from 10am – 3pm, free entry.

Sun 22 Feb Open House Grossman & Brough House, from 10am to 3pm, $5 entry

Look Who’s Talking Local History 

A special screening of the digitally restored classic 1978 Australian film Newsfront, with 1955 flood footage, and a panel discussion. Presented by Maitland City Library and the National Film and Sound Archive. Wed, 25 Feb, 6pm- 9.15pm, Reading Cinema Maitland, entry is free. RSVP to programmes@maitland.nsw.gov.au or Ph: 4933 6952

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.