Working under the supervision of SLSCC Director of Life Saving, Simon Cusack North Avoca members (John Avis, Steve Brown, Lynette Vuradin and Darren Hutton) were deployed to the Mid North Coast to assist with flood relief, as part of the emergency services chain.
We had two hard hull club IRBs, 3 motors and extensive support gear and kit available. Based out of the SES yard in Taree, we were tasked to work with various other agencies, specifically Fire & Rescue, Marine Rescue and SES. This was a massive learning curve for all agencies working together and we hope to assist in future deployments with what we took away from the opportunity.
We covered a great deal of territory over flood impacted roads and had 3 direct deployments. The first was in the Manning River from Taree town centre, where a large marine rescue vessel required a secondary transport of patients from a pontoon in the river; the second was as the first vehicles into Harrington / Crowdy Head to inspect, assist and report back on any residents in difficulty, after several days being cut off; the third was working with a large Fire & Rescue team North West of Taree (Mt George to Nowendoc ) to assist with potential river crossings where isolated residents needed medication deliveries and welfare checks .
Our team was well prepared and always handled their role professionally. It was a great opportunity to work with such well trained and resourced agencies and to have an opportunity to utilise our equipment in communities under extreme stress. The opportunity exists for us to improve our capability under these circumstances in future. Thanks to our generous supporters and sponsors we have access to the best equipment, also thanks to Cape Hawke SLSC for accommodating us.
Darren Hutton – NA SLSC Patrol Captain