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Victorian emergency services return after NSW flood support

POSTED: 
15 March 2022

Victorian support to NSW is coming to a close with the final flights containing a taskforce of 44 emergency service personnel from VICSES, CFA, EMV and FFMVIC, returning today.

The teams, including 40 Community Liaison Officers, three Public Information Officers and one Intelligence Officer, have been assisting Victoria’s neighbours in the flood recovery which displaced thousands of people in NSW and QLD.

A total of 190 Victorians, including Community Liaison Officers, Public Information, Field Storm Crew, Incident Management Team personnel, Task Force Leaders and Jurisdictional Support Team members, have flown in to assist since 1 March in Rhodes, Wollongong, Metropolitan Sydney and the Northern Rivers Division.

Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp thanked Victorian emergency services volunteers and staff for their incredible effort.

“Teams across multiple agencies have really come together to help where it is needed most. They can arrive home today knowing they’ve made a significant contribution to emergency services and the communities in NSW,” he said.

VICSES Community Liaison Officer Taskforce Commander Melanie Gill said the team has accomplished a great deal.

“Our community liaison officers achieved so much by working seamlessly with other agencies at community hubs and meetings, and by visiting homes which had been cut off from services by floodwater, mud and debris; to provide material and emotional support, as well as guidance through this difficult time,” she said.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said he was extremely proud of the Victorian team which has been working tirelessly to help those in need.

“People in NSW have been experiencing some the most challenging circumstances of their lives, and the professionalism and care our CFA members and others have shown to those affected has been incredible,” he said.

“We’re glad to have the team back in Victoria following these deployments and we’re always willing to assist our partner agencies when we can.”

The teams helped those hit worst by the floods, to provide information situational updates, information about road access, housing, accommodation services and other support services.

A total of 16 Water Police and Search and Rescue squads from Victoria Police have also returned, following deployment to Lismore, Ballina and metropolitan Sydney areas, performing multiple rescues, staging proactive patrols and providing specialist advice on search co-ordination. Additional support is on the way, with the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry to send its inaugural interstate crew this Wednesday.

The team of six will assist The Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network in recovery centres in far north NSW for around eight days, with subsequent shifts likely to follow.

The flood situation in NSW and QLD is a reminder that Victorians should connect with official sources of emergency information, including: the VicEmergency app, www.emergency.vic.gov.au, local emergency broadcasters such as ABC local radio, commercial and select community radio stations, or SkyNews TV, phone the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 or follow VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.