Surf Lifesavers Respond to Flood Emergency

Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) in action.


VOLUNTEER surf lifesavers have stepped up to assist with flood rescue and relief efforts underway in the Hunter region in the past week.

All weekend volunteers from a number of Surf Life Saving Clubs in the Hunter Branch assisted the NSW SES as flood waters continue to rise.

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Duty Officers from the Hunter SLS Branch were embedded in the Incident Control Centres as Liaison Officers to help resource and direct Surf Life Saving assets including drones (UAVs) and Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs).

Two UAV teams from the Australian UAV Service were conducting aerial surveillance, providing vital information to the SES to assist in their response to the rapidly rising flood waters in Singleton.

For the first time, the drone vision was also being ‘livestreamed’ directly back to the big screens in the SLSNSW State Ops Centre.

Two IRB crews from Nobbys SLSC in Newcastle were also assisting in the Singleton area, along with a crew from Stockton SLSC who were on standby in the Maitland/Raymond Terrace area.

The capability and agility of the UAVs has been shown to be a major asset for incident commanders, providing crucial real-time information and situational awareness.

“We can deploy our UAV operators quickly and with minimal equipment and setup, they can be feeding back a very clear picture of the situation in no time,” said SLSNSW CEO Steve Pearce.

“For the first time in an emergency incident, we have been able to link the camera feed directly back to our State Operations Centre in Sydney, where our Duty Officers can see exactly what the drone pilot is seeing, which is incredible.”

With the wild weather continuing to hammer NSW and flood risks imminent for rivers further north, volunteer callout teams and Surf Life Saving assets will remain on standby to respond if requested.

“I can’t thank our volunteers enough for answering the call to assist, bringing their skills and experience to an extremely challenging situation.”


Flood waters.

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