A 'thank you' for firies who helped during flood
THE past two weeks has seen a mammoth effort by all in the Northern Rivers community to begin the recovery from the floods.
Now the Northern Rivers zone of the NSW Rural Fire Service have reflected on that effort.
The NSW Rural Fire Service have worked side by side with all emergency services, councils and the community from the start of the heavy rain right throughout the flood event, they reflected on their Facebook page.
NSW RFS involvement began assisting the SES in the initial response, undertaking a range of tasks from helicopter rescues through to assisting in remote communities cut off by flood water.
The focus then switched to helping restore normality to communities affected and working closely in the recovery phase with the Northern Rivers Local Emergency Management Committee, councils, Fire Rescue NSW, Helping Hands and the community as a whole.
During this phase, the NSW RFS responded and assisted in force to undertake thousands of tasks and assist people seeking help.
During the peak period, almost every local Rural Fire Brigade from the Northern Rivers Zone was involved at some point and they were supported by the RFS as a whole with volunteers and equipment traveling from across the state to help.
"During the peak, around 90 RFS Fire Appliances and 300 volunteers hit the streets of Lismore each day," a spokesperson for the Northern Rivers zone RFS said in the reflective post.
"They gradually went from house to house, business to business, street by street to provide any help they possibly could.
"That included washing down properties, roads, sporting fields, public facilities, shovelling mud, cleaning car parks and the list goes on.
"They helped home and business owners move out damaged belongings, they did whatever they could to make things a little easier.
"In some cases it was even stopping just to talk to people and listen to their stories and on many occasions they found elderly people who had no ability and no resources to do anything or know where to start.
"They gradually moved out into the rural areas and villages to the north through Rock Valley, toward Nimbin and all places in between.
"They also went south to Coraki, New Italy and Woodburn, providing the same help and also tackled some significant safety issues on roads and bridges removing vegetation, mud and general debris.
"The RFS also undertook what seemed like an impossible mission to house all Emergency Service workers in one self-contained facility.
"To that end, a fully self-sufficient Base Camp was established at the Wollongbar TAFE Campus in 42 hours.
"Personnel from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire Rescue NSW and NSW SES were accommodated there, with a capacity of just under 500 people.
"The Base Camp (Camp Tranquility) had everything required including sleeping quarters, mess tent, toilets, showers, triage, clothes washing and drying facilities, and a decontamination area as you entered the camp.
"It had its own power and water supply and had a population that was larger than many of our villages.
"The catering within the camp alone was a mammoth task with just under 1500 meals per day being prepared.
"It has been a truly incredible effort by all agencies involved, who have worked together to put a little shine and sparkle back into Lismore and the surrounding areas.
"It will be a long time before true normality is restored to the region, but we hope the efforts of all Emergency Services, Government Agencies, Elected Representatives, Councils and all the community itself have given it great head start.
"We also extend a huge thankyou and acknowledgement to all the NSW Rural Fire Service Volunteers of the Northern Rivers Zone and from far afield that came to help.
"Well done to all of you."