South-West emergency service agencies gather to showcase equipment on Saturday

UPDATE FRIDAY 11.38am: Please note the Warrnambool City COuncil has advised this event has been postponed due to forecast extreme weather. 

Earlier: The SES mobile command vehicle used in the Cobden this month during the peat fires is just one of many emergency services vehicles on display in Warrnambool on Saturday. 

The various groups are coming together for the first South West Emergency Services Capability Forum at Lake Pertobe which will help to inform both residents and emergency personnel about the latest equipment and how it’s used. 

Warrnambool and Moyne emergency management co-ordinator Sue Rondeau said while the forum had been planned for many months the recent St Patrick’s Day fires highlighted the importance of being prepared. 

Response: The Port Fairy SES will have their all terrain vehicle on display as part of a South West Emergency Services display on Saturday in Warrnambool.

Response: The Port Fairy SES will have their all terrain vehicle on display as part of a South West Emergency Services display on Saturday in Warrnambool.

“The recent south-west fires have underlined the importance of an effective emergency response – not just from the emergency services but individuals and families too,” Ms Rondeau said. 

She said there would be a large display including ambulances, CFA fire trucks, marine rescue boats, SES rescue trucks and Victoria Police highway patrol cars from noon to 3pm. 

“There’ll be activities for children and have CFA volunteers, police, ambulances officers, Red Cross representatives, the Warrnambool volunteer Coast Guard and Port Fairy Marine Rescue among others to answer all your questions.”

She said attendees could also speak to members about how to prepare for an emergency.

Emergency service agencies will also meet prior to the community session to hear from others in the field about their new equipment, their capabilities and share in specialist knowledge. 

Port Fairy SES unit controller Steve McDowell said the day came about after a recent exercise where agencies realised they didn’t know the extent of the various emergency equipment each service had.

“This was planned well before the fires,” Mr McDowell said. “It’s an ideal time and a bit topical at the moment so it worked out well.”

He said they would have a rescue truck, an all terrain vehicle and a litter mule, which is an all terrain stretcher on wheels on display. The SES mobile command vehicle, used in Cobden during the peat fires, is also coming with a team from Ballarat. 

“It’s a truck that opens up into a big room to run operations out of in an emergency. It’s like a mobile office with all the computers, radios and fax machines. It can be located wherever it’s required. The idea is if those facilities are not available we can pull up and run out of it.”

SES units from Mortlake, Hamilton, Portland and Warrnambool would also be there, he said. 

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