Steph Cooke, NSW Minister for Emergency Services, visited the NSW State Emergency Services (SES) Manly Unit in Balgowlah today, Wednesday 7 September to present a new storm truck to the team.
The Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery joined NSW Member for Manly, James Griffin, and SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin at the Manly SES Unit to officially hand over the keys to the $245,000 purpose-built truck, which will be deployed on the Northern Beaches.
Known as a Medium Storm Vehicle, the truck is equipped with a range of specialist equipment to respond to severe weather events and help in saving lives.
“The truck includes a ladder loader and ladder, power tools, front and rear anchor points and stowage for an Ark Angel rescue craft,” Ms Cooke revealed. “It will help volunteers better respond to a range of incidents, including storm damage operations and flood rescues.”
The truck has already been utilised for one operation: the search and rescue of a missing man in Elanora Heights on 4-5 August, which Manly Observer reported had a successful outcome.
The 2021-22 summer was among the wettest on record, with statistics indicating 400 to 500 percent average rainfall on some days. The NSW emergency services were often stretched to their limits, dealing with rivers breaching their banks, fallen trees, overflowing stormwater drains, electrical powerlines down and localised flooding impacting homes and businesses.
The NSW SES webpage details the extraordinary emergencies their volunteers undertook: “Between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022, the NSW SES received more than 64,000 requests for assistance, undertook 2,645 flood rescues and completed more than 38,000 storm-related jobs…
“This compares to 42,000 requests for assistance and just over 1,000 flood rescues in the previous financial year.”
Manly SES unit responded to over 500 incidents during 2022 alone, as well as aiding other SES units in extreme situations further afield, such as the devastating Lismore floods.
The local weather dramas included a series of flooding and evacuation orders that Manly Observer reported on 8 March and, not discounting the tragic Lismore flooding, the revelation that the Northern Beaches was among the hardest hit by the storms and heavy rainfall that caused chaos across NSW earlier this year.
“It’s been an incredibly busy period for our volunteers around Manly with the unprecedented rainfall Sydney has experienced this year,” Mr Griffin confirmed. “This new asset [the storm truck] has arrived at the perfect time, allowing our 136 volunteers from the Manly SES Unit to better protect the community, with the official storm season fast approaching on 1 October.”
The storm truck is likely to prove essential over the forthcoming months, if weather forecasters are to be believed.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), NSW is highly likely (70%) to experience another saturated ‘La Niña’ summer for the 2022-23 warmer months, bringing more torrential rains, East Coast Lows and other severe weather events.
SES Manly unit Facebook page
NSW SES webpage