Well, their motto says "The Worst in Nature- The Best in Us". How true it is ! !
Sunday August 24th saw our region hit by gale force winds. What started out as a beautiful sunny morning was transformed into a war zone by sunset. Strong winds caused havoc in our area, the destruction ranged from trees being uprooted, windows being smashed, shop signs destroyed, roof damage and of course wires down sending many homes and businesses into darkness.
As always, when something like this occurs, the local State Emergency Service volunteers all come together to help their community. However, they realised that mother nature was too harsh on this occasion. The volunteers put out their own call for help. More SES volunteers came from near and far. The units of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle were assisted by crews from Port Stephens, Karurah Valley, Taree, Maitland and Singleton just to name a few.
Crews worked throughout Sunday night on the places most badly damaged. Their chainsaws buzzed all night, and, as they worked, they were still being hit by the strong winds until approx midnight. These SES crews, gave up their own time to crawl around on roof tops to patch roofs and make areas safe, all while being blown sideways by the wind. Are these guys crazy ? ?
Monday saw the "orange army" responding to even more calls as residents awoke to find downed trees and damage all over the place. Throughout Monday, the Fire Brigade were also cutting up downed trees.
By Tuesday, the SES crews could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They had completed a mountain of calls for help from the community. Mr Marshall who is the Controller of Lake Macquarie SES informed me that units had answered over 280 calls in his local area.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with one of the Lake Macquarie SES crews. These guys were tired, but they continued on.
They were called to a residence in Tingira Heights, their jobsheet stated that a tree was threatening to fall on a house. The SES crewleader Bob, checked the scene and agreed that there was a problem, the tree had to be removed. After discussing the situation with his crew, they worked out how the job was to be done.
Their training was put into practice and they excelled in what they did. Remember, these guys are volunteers, they earn no money for what they do.
Newcastle Scan approached the property owner to gain permission to take these following pictures. We would like to thank them and most importantly thank the hard working crews of our State Emergency Service