Gracemere SES workers and Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke.
Gracemere SES workers and Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke.

$44K arsenal upgrade for Rockhampton SES Unit

THE Rockhampton Regional SES Unit today received $44,000 worth of equipment from state-owned power companies Energy Queensland and Powerlink Queensland.

Among the gear are iPads, defibrillators, chainsaws, pole saws, battery-powered lights, stretchers, a 40kg rescue training dummy, and a ‘mule’ – a wheeled stretcher operated by two volunteers rather than six.

The equipment will be distributed across 25 SES groups in the Rockhampton area.

Rockhampton Regional Council Acting Local Patroller Leon Burt has been involved with the SES for 11 years.

He said upgrading the service’s arsenal had a “massive impact”.

“It allows the groups to increase the range of activities that they can train with,” Mr Burt said.

“They now have a greater capacity in what they can respond to, or the length of time that they can actually provide that response for.”

He said many of the items were new for the Rockhampton divisions and that it was particularly useful to have battery-powered tools.

“We’re now going away from a lot of stuff that’s run on generators, onto batteries,” he said.

“We can now use hand tools that are battery-operated; rather than trying to hammer nails in, we can screw them in.”

Mr Burt said volunteers were in the midst of training for the coming wet season.

“They’ve now official declared La Nina,” he said, “so that now means, we’re thinking it’s going to be wet.

“The early forecast is 15 cyclones. How many will hit the coast? Anybody’s guess. How severe? Anybody’s guess.”

He said there were 100 to 110 volunteers in the Rockhampton unit: 10 to 15 at Mount Morgan, 35 to 40 at Gracemere, and 60 to 65 at Rockhampton.

“We’re always looking for more people to come along and join if they can give up one night a week, the occasional weekend,” Mr Burt said.

Rockhampton Regional Council Acting Local Patroller Leon Burt.
Rockhampton Regional Council Acting Local Patroller Leon Burt.

QFES Assistant Fire Commissioner Darryl King said he was “ever grateful for the work that the volunteers do”.

He said the “state-of-the-art” gear would not only help the SES do its work, but keep its volunteers more safe.

Energy Queensland Capricornia Acting Area Manager Dan King thanked the SES, saying that during the Yeppoon fires, “without the help and support of you guys, we wouldn’t have been able to do our jobs”.

About the equipment, he said he hoped it was put to good use “for all the right reasons”.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke put the total number of volunteers more specifically at 104, and said that between July 1 and December 31 in 2019, the Rockhampton Regional SES Unit put 1,204 hours into operations and 5,242 hours into training, administration, public education, recruitment, fundraising, and equipment maintenance.

“I’m pleased that this equipment was delivered directly to the SES groups,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“Thanks you to all of you for the wonderful work that you do.”

The SES has a $200,000 agreement with Energy Queensland and Powerlink Queensland that is annually reviewed.



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