Prepare now for storm season

Volunteers Susan Casserly and Lauren Brown in uniform with rescue section leader Mark Booth. Picture: Jon Hewson d419396
Volunteers Susan Casserly and Lauren Brown in uniform with rescue section leader Mark Booth. Picture: Jon Hewson d419396

The service recently updated its unit website, which includes a detailed home emergency plan and home emergency kit.

Rescue section leader Mark Booth said coupling preparation with a plan ” in case of a severe storm ” helped minimise the chance of damage and helped SES personnel.

‘One big thing we recommend is going around your guttering to make sure it’s free-flowing and hose the downpipes because nine out of 10 times we’re called out because the water is backed up with nowhere else to go,’ he said.

‘A lot of minimising the potential for damage is preparation, mainly tidying up summer items like barbecues, chairs and tables and putting it all away in the shed, or covering it with a tarp and tying it securely in one area.’

Relying solely on the dedication of a band of about 70 volunteers, the Rockingham-Kwinana SES unit keeps close tabs on long-term weather forecasts and carries out its own preparations.

Mr Booth said they received one or two call outs in an average storm, while larger storms often result in more than 30 calls. He said the storm in July, 2012, was ‘ballistic’, resulting in more than 500 callouts in a day.

Whatever the situation, Mr Booth said they relied on the cooperation of people they helped in order to carry out their job.

‘There are mixed messages about what we do, unfortunately, but we’re there to make temporary repairs and not full maintenance. The best thing people can do when we arrive is listen to our instructions, show us to the damage and then step away to minimise the risk while we assess it and bring in our equipment,’ he said.