Magnetic Island North Queensland
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March 14th 2011
Magnetic Island SES news

MI SES volunteer Tina Picot, on the job after Yasi Following is a message from the Magnetic Island State Emergency Service, Group Leader, Mr Murray Withers.

The Magnetic Island SES group would like to thank residents who required help after Cyclone Yasi for their patience. The island had all contact with the mainland severed for about 36 hours from approximately 2 am on Friday 4th February, with both landline and mobile phone communications down. When calling the SES emergency number 132500, most callers received an engaged signal giving the impression the line was busy. Those residents who managed to log a request prior to the loss of the phone services, also had to wait, as our fax line was also affected, and no tasks were able to be received.

The Island Group with a small number of trained personnel, received over 80 requests for help, with between 3 and 6 members available. The Group did a great job in the completion of these tasks working up to 10 hours a day, for almost 2 weeks. We received help from a 5 man Charters Towers/Pentland SES crew for 3 days and an 8 man Northern Territory SES crew for one day.

The SES asks all residents requiring help, not to ring SES members on their home phones. Please use the 132500 emergency line. The Group Leader got over 100 calls to his private home and mobile phones, and was unable to take most of these calls, and therefore unable to help. The Group Leader now has silent numbers on both his private and mobile phones.

There is an issue with commercial premise operators requesting sandbags for flooding and cyclone protection of businesses. SES policy states commercial operators must have their own supply of sandbags, and in future only householders will be supplied with sandbags for surge and flooding protection. We ask all businesses in surge and flood prone areas, to keep a supply of sandbags on their premises. These are available from bigger hardware stores, and you must make sure you have an adequate supply prior to each wet season.

The SES Group is urgently looking for new members, and will be holding a new member information evening, on April 18th at 7.00 pm, at our Headquarters in Kelly Street, Nelly Bay, next door to Citiwater. If you can train 2 Monday evenings a month and want to help your community, come along and see what we do, with no obligation to join.

Murray Withers
Magnetic Island Group Leader

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Magnetic Island SES news
Chris C
March 14th 2011
No Murray, you don't thank us - we all Thank you and the crew - an amazing job done so well!! You (and the rest of us) should be very proud of your contriubution to our community.

And shame on those (at least one I know of) who had the SES and other volunteers cleaning up their yard on "volunteer weekend" when they were perfectly capable of doing it themselves)!
Alan Patterson
March 13th 2011
Good on you Murray & all the SES crew of Magnetic Island for a great job, volunteering yourselves to training & service when required. Thank you :)
shirley renton
March 14th 2011
We really appreciate your work especially when there is so few of you.Congratulations !
March 14th 2011
SES Bay Leaders' phone numbers are in the Magnetic Informer phone book on the Emergency Numbers page- and the main SES number is not!! I was one who rang for assistance prior to the cyclone to help me with securing a trailer which I could not move, but was told there was no-one to help. While I understand that resources were stretched, I was very disappointed and somewhat disillusioned. We definitely need more island volunteers and I would love to help, however Monday night training is not suitable for me as that is also choir rehearsal night. So all I can do is complain, not help - and encourage those who can attend to do so, to be available to support our island community in times of need.
March 17th 2011
Dear PT
Having been a member of the SES I would like to make a couple of comments in response to your complaints/concerns about the local SES.
1. The "E" in SES stands for "Emergency". Many days notice was given regarding TC Anthony then TC Yasi. If help was needed to secure your trailor may I suggest you organise some friends to help. Living in this great community, many people are only too willing to help a neighbour, but in those last hours with a cyclone bearing down, SES members have families & responsibilities at home as well. Remember they are volunteers.
2. As for volunteers to the local SES, every year the leader Murray Withers goes on a recruitment drive. Some people respond, some have good intentions, others are "busy" doing something else & others just plain can't be bothered. It takes not just the sacrifice of Monday nights training but a willingness to sit & do compliance bookwork because of Work Health Place & Safety Standards. Gone are the days of climbing up on the roof to tarp it without the requirements of harnessing, securing ladders & having a safety officer. All for the better but this requires training.So, PT it comes down to decisions & committment, yours is to your interest the choir, Murray is to teaching new recruits & year after year remain optimistic that "some more" may come, for training. I think he is entitled not to have people ring his home number. Before the cyclone I loaded up my phone with emergency numbers, here is the SES number 132 500. For the SES to repond to "jobs" they need this proceedure to be followed. Don't ring local memebrs, record the job through the appropriate channels. No paperwork, no job. I agree with you in regard to the way the Informer has displayed the numbers, it would be better to have this number in there instead of our great volunteer's personal numbers.
Hopefully those can make it on the 18th of April will do so & enjoy the great learning, training environment of our local SES group.
March 17th 2011
Sorry Murray, I rang your number(no other volunteers were available) when seeking assistance for a neighbour, however, this was after being advised to contact a local leader by the person I finally got hold of on the 13 number!
April 3rd 2011
Very many THANKS to the SES. You helped many a resident and always with smiles and good will. Thank You.
sheila roach
May 10th 2011
Yes thank you all so much for your hard work after cyclone yasi.I have since had a look at exits from the bays should we ever have a tsunami-all roads up are gated.I find this concerning and wondered if these gates would be unlocked to enable cars to get to higher ground in a hurry.Maybe a key at the ambulance station/all seasons would be handy should something happen of some magnitude (god forbid).The forts are good for Horshoe Bay residents.Lets hope it never ever does happen but the world is full of uncertainties.
Once again thanks for your hard work
sheila roach

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