While the rumble of thunder across the Bundaberg Region has locals casting a wary eye skywards this storms season, that same sound can be viewed as a call to arms for the region’s SES crews.
State Emergency Service personnel in Childers and Gin Gin have been providing their support to residents as communities were battered by severe storms recently.
Childers Deputy Local Controller Mark Kipp realises that summer storms are just one of the catalogue of duties to which he and his SES members are ready to respond.
Mark attended the Childers Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting recently to shine a light on the activities and structure of the Childers SES.
“We are currently in a rebuilding phase with eight active members attending regular training,” he said.
“Our duties, in addition to storm related activities like filling and supplying sandbags, tarping damaged roofs and, at times, traffic control are interspersed with search and rescue and a multitude of other activities in collaboration with kindred emergency services.”
Mark stressed that there is a place within the SES organisation for people with all abilities.
”A disability is generally no setback to a useful role anyone can play within the organisation. This includes work in areas of communication and administration,” he said.
“The SES training sessions enable members to become fully conversant with the use of rescue equipment, communication devices, chainsaws and rope work.”
Local resident Margaret Smith said that as a relative newcomer to the Childers area she recently found herself in need of sandbags to address a minor flooding problem at her home.
“Someone suggested the Childers SES and I have to say the team there was incredibly helpful in promptly assisting with the sandbags.”
DLC Mark Kipp said training was conducted twice a month at the Childers SES headquarters in North Street adjacent to the Mens Shed building.
“I would be happy to provide additional information to prospective members. Simply give me a call on 0437 921 909.”
Gin Gin crews on standby for storm season
SES local controller Kellie Rogers oversees areas including Gin Gin and said residents were always encouraged to be prepared for storm season.
“Residents need to prepare, prepare, prepare before the storms start,” she said.
“It is as simple as getting your emergency kits ready which should include enough non-perishable food to last a week plus any extra medication you may need.
“There are a lot of places in Gin Gin and surrounds that we can't even get to during flooding so that's why locals need to be extra prepared.
“Also, don't forget to look after your guttering. It's so important to keep on top of this to avoid any leaks or damage to your home during storm season.”
Kellie said the Gin Gin crew were made up of 20 members who not only assisted those in storm-impacted and flooded areas, they were also on hand to help in any type of weather or emergency event.
“Last year we were more in the middle of a drought, so it was bushfires that we were dealing with and this year is completely different with the floods,” she said.
“We have been participating in plenty of sandbagging while looking out for people who were stuck due to localised flooding.”
Anyone requiring emergency assistance from the SES should call 132 500 and the call will be directed to the closest SES unit.