26 September 2023

Emergencies signalling new SES records

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The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) has seen the two busiest periods in its history within the past six months, following significant storms in June and October.

Chief Officer, Operations at VICSES, Tim Wiebusch said that recently, volunteers responded to 9,898 Requests For Assistance (RFA) in the course of a week (29 October-4 November).

“Of those calls, over 7000 were for fallen trees, over 2,000 for building damage and around 200 to the impacts of flooding,” Mr Wiebusch said.

“It’s been an incredibly busy few days for our VICSES volunteers responding to this significant storm event, especially with the large number of calls for help coming through daily,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the work our VICSES volunteers have undertaken and continue to do to assist so many community members with great support from our partner agencies.”

Mr Wiebusch said the June storm earlier this year that significantly impacted the Dandenong Ranges, Macedon Ranges, LaTrobe Valley and Hepburn Shire was considered the biggest event in VICSES history.

The Chief Officer said the storm resulted in over 10,000 RFAs alongside widespread power outages.

He thanked New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) volunteers who assisted the response to the most recent storm event and provided emergency assistance over three days to Victorians in southern metropolitan Melbourne.

“The NSW SES crews were tasked to assist in some of the hardest hit areas such as Frankston, Red Hill and Chelsea, using their specialist rooftop skills to clear the remaining jobs and provide some much needed relief to local VICSES crews,” he said.

“VICSES also received great support with our emergency management partners such as Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVIC) as well as Council staff and contractors, who were of great assistance in clearing the massive volume of calls for help.”

Mr Wiebusch said the recent weather event was a good reminder for community members to download the VicEmergency app for the latest warning and advice messaging and to check the VicTraffic app or website before travelling for updates on road closures and hazards.

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