That's what families do!

First published 21 January 2016

When you join the fire service, you join a family with no borders and no boundaries. Your family now includes colleagues at stations and brigades both locally, nationally and internationally. So when a call was put out via the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) for 62 qualified Incident Management Team (IMT) personnel to support our colleagues in the West working on the Waroona fire the MFS was not shy to respond.

What families do - WA trip - kangaroo rescue

South Australia provided 13 personnel from CFS, DEWNR, SES and our own ranks here at the MFS.

The MFS personnel and roles included Commander Scott Thompson (Deputy Incident Controller), Station Officer Andrew Geytenbeek (Sector Commander), Station Officer Garrick Lehmann (Sector Commander) and Senior Firefighter Craig Ford (Logistics Officer).

The group flew to Perth late Tuesday and were briefed on Wednesday morning before being transported to their accommodation base at Boddington Mine Camp. 

The deployment was split into three groups, some remaining in Perth to provide some local resources should additional fires start, some started night shift Wednesday night at the Waroona Incident Control Centre (ICC) with the remaining personnel placed on day shift Thursday morning at the Waroona ICC.

The day-shift worked from Thursday to Sunday and were welcomed by the local IMT. The SA members stepped up after a day of acclimatisation into the WA systems and procedures. At the completion of our deployment, the fire was downgraded from a Level 3 incident to a Level 2 incident and handed back to local control.

Many of us were able to tour the devastated town of Yarloop during the deployment where more than half of all homes were razed. We met with the local community and were able to hear their stories and were impressed by the community spirit and the determination to rebuild the town. It will be a long recovery process for the Yarloop community.

On completion of the final day on the Sunday, a kangaroo was found on the side of the road in a distressed state. After a quick look over it appeared to be uninjured but dehydrated. After gaining its trust we were able to get it to drink two bottles of water. A call was made to the RSPCA on its location, who were then able to look after its welfare.

Our time in WA came to an end on Monday with the bus ride to the airport going through heavy falls of rain. Hopefully it was widespread over the fireground to ensure that it was safe for the locals and our WA colleagues and extended family to have that long deserved rest.

What families do - WA trip - kangaroo rescue

Commander Scott Thompson