ARMY reservists from Tamworth, Armidale and Muswellbrook have been assisting NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) operations in the Armidale, Glen Innes and Tenterfield area.
The 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers are expected to provide logistical support to the NSW RFS until at least January 13 after starting on December 23.
While this meant some members of the regiment have been away from their families during the Christmas/New Year holiday period, they have been offering much-needed relief to RFS, SES and NSW Fire and Rescue personnel in the New England region.
"Despite the short notice and the time of year, the response was immediate and the manning of the ground logistical support detachment was filled within 24 hours of the word going out," acting commanding officer, Major Andrew May, said.
"Our soldiers were more than happy to step up to help out in the fire emergency."
The members concentrated on Armidale before leaving for the Glen Innes RFS Fire Control Centre (FCC).
Sergeant Daryl Broadley, of Armidale, was the detachment commander and, given his experience with the RFS, able to ensure that it integrated seamlessly into the FCC operations.
Since they arrived, they've been working continuously, every day, providing critical support to the RFS.
Glen Innes FCC logistics officer Paul Fisher said he was highly impressed with the reservists.
"These individuals have been extremely professional at all times in their manners, their dress code and their behaviour," he said.
"They've been hugely beneficial to myself and the FCC as a whole.
"They have often been given the less desirable roles to fill, and all have completed these chores without complaint and always cheerful."
The detachment is due to be replaced on January 13 when the second one sets out.
- Ferry RFS, SES and South Australian firefighter personnel to/from Armidale airport
- Supply drinking water to Mt Mitchel RFB for distribution to locals, who had been using tanks at RFS station - due to firefighting activities, these became contaminated with foam retardant
- Assist RFS crews preparing and loading RFS trucks for move south
- Clean and refurbish RFS vehicles at Glen Innes FCC
- Transport water and ration packs to Torrington RFB for distribution to locals
- Transport air observers to/from Glen Innes airport
- Help Armidale FCC to clean up
- Inspect RFS trucks loaned to South Australian crews for damage; restock with foam and water as required
- Issue stores to South Australian crews from Glen Innes warehouse
- Reorganise and restock warehouse from section 44 stocktakes
- Restock RFS trucks with water and foam at local fire stations, then refuel