The role of the NSW State Emergency Service in flood management
Pfister, N. and Rutledge, A. (2002) presented at the 42nd Annual COnference of the Floodplain Management Authorities of NSW, Kempsey, 2002.
The organisation that has become the New South Wales (NSW) State Emergency Service (SES) was formed nearly 50 years ago as a direct result of flooding. A number of catastrophic floods in the late 1940s and the 1950s had caused dozens of deaths, massive damage to public and private property, and severe and repeated disruptions to community life. In response, the State Government decided that an agency was needed to coordinate community reactions to the flood threat and to protect and sustain communities during and after flood events. However, the SES's actual role in flood management was for many years, only vaguely defined, and it was mostly interpreted to mean the management of floods as they occurred. That is, the SES's activity was concentrated mostly on emergency response, and on training to support emergency response activities. Those real-time response activities include the:
- provision of flood warnings
- conduct of evacuations
- rescue of people from flood waters
- resupply of people who have been cut off
- preparatory work to mitigate property damage
- provision of information and advice to communities under the threat of flooding
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