January 2009 - Page 7

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Seamless Integration

 
 

Proper Bay Fires

 
 

During major incidents the community requires assistance and isn't concerned which agency provides that assistance as long as they get the help they need.  Hence, one of the priorities of the SAFECOM Board is seamless integration - agencies working as one team.  The response to the Proper Bay Fire showed how well SAFECOM agencies can work together, and with other agencies, to assist the local community.

  The teamed efforts of emergency services personnel and other agencies combine to minimise the impact of disasters and the loss to life, property and the environment. (Photo courtesy of CFS Promotions Unit)

No more was the seamless integration of our services displayed when the joint forces of our agencies battled recent fires in Proper Bay, Port Lincoln.

The fire that was said to have been started by an electrical transformer ripped through 280 hectares of scrub as temperatures in South Australia soared to 41 degrees.

The fire severely damaged two tuna processing businesses as it blazed within 300m of the Port Lincoln township on Tuesday 13 January causing millions of dollars damage to property and threatening the safety of residents.

 

In excess of 250 firefighters and 25 appliances from both the CFS and MFS, including eight aircraft worked throughout the night to control the fire in extreme weather conditions of low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures.  SES was involved assisting with servicing firefighting equipment, logistics support, controlling road closures and helping the Salvation Army provide meals to firefighters.

Emergency Services Minister Michael Wright praised the response from emergency and other services.

"The coordination of the CFS, MFS and the Department for Environment and Heritage was exemplary," he said.

CFS Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said a rapid response from firefighters and other emergency services had saved many properties.

Australian Tuna Boat Owners Association president Brian Jeffriess said whilst the damage would have an impact on the industry it could have been much worse.

"The concentrated efforts of emergency services played a big part in saving the other tuna processing operations that were at risk," Mr Jeffriess said.

SES Chief Officer Stuart Macleod said that the response to the Proper Bay bushfire was another outstanding example of cooperation between our emergency services.

MFS Chief Officer Grant Lupton said that it was tragic to see the significant fire loss and impact to the community; however, the rapid coordinated response and multi-agency intervention helped prevent further damage.

MFS and CFS will work alongside officers from SA Police to determine what caused the fire.

 
 
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