24/01/2024 03:34 PM

Emergency service personnel from NSW State Emergency Service (SES), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) have deployed to Queensland to assist with potential Tropical Cyclone Kirrily.  

The first contingent of 46 personnel departed Sydney today, included in-water rescue operators and incident management teams, as well as two NSW RFS helicopters to be prepositioned in Bundaberg and Rockhampton to provide search and rescue capabilities. 

A low-pressure weather system, which is expected to develop into Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, is forecast to make landfall on Thursday night, impacting the Queensland coast between Cardwell and Bowen as a category two cyclone.  

The NSW personnel will remain in North Queensland for five days, assisting with frontline emergency response to the forecast weather, which is expected to bring destructive wind gusts and intense rainfall to coastal communities.  

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib thanked those answering the call for help across all of the emergency services and said NSW would stand shoulder to shoulder with Queensland during this emergency.  

“Intense weather systems are something we’re all too familiar with in NSW and while our thoughts are with those in North Queensland, we are backing that up with action by sending this much needed help,” Minister Dib said.  

“I thank our emergency response teams for their selflessness, bravery and resolve. I also wish to thank their families and employers for their support of this important mission.” 

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said the emergency service family’s desire to help communities went beyond state borders.  

"I know this is a difficult time for many Queenslanders, and I’m confident our skilled NSW SES volunteers, and interagency partners will provide valuable assistance with the emergency response to Tropical Cyclone Kirrily,” Commissioner York said.  

NSW SES in-water flood rescue specialists, incident management resources and jurisdiction liaison officers will be located in Mackay, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast as part of the deployment. 
“At relatively short notice we’ve seen people put their hand up for this deployment – it wouldn’t be possible without the support of their workplaces, family and loved ones,” Commissioner York said.  

“Our highly-skilled in water flood rescue operators are always ready to help communities near and far at their times of need.”  

FRNSW Commissioner, Jeremy Fewtrell AFSM, said the deployment was an opportunity for teams to support communities in need while demonstrating their highly specialised skillset. 

“FRNSW is deploying emergency management experts, a liaison officer and technicians who are experienced in urban search and rescue, general land-based rescue, and in water rescue, allowing them to seamlessly pivot between a range of challenging tasks,” Commissioner Fewtrell said. 

NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM said their members were proud to work alongside other emergency service agencies to protect communities, no matter where they may be. 

“In addition to Incident Management Team specialists, the RFS is also sending two multi-purpose helicopters with search and rescue capability to be positioned across Queensland,” Commissioner Rogers said. 

“Whether assisting on the ground or from the air, the versatility of RFS personnel is testament to their professionalism and skill.” 

Plans are underway to send a further 60 storm and chainsaw personnel from the NSW SES to assist with any clean up requirements.

The NSW SES is also continuing to monitor the forecast and progression of the potential cyclone closely with the Bureau of Meteorology and will provide information and warnings to the community as required. Personnel and assets have been prepositioned in northern NSW and are prepared and ready to respond if a cyclone eventuates.  

While there is currently no threat to NSW from this potential tropical cyclone, Commissioner York said now was the time for the community to prepare.  
“Simple things like trimming trees around your properties, putting away loose items, and having discussions with your family and friends about what you will do in an emergency if you ever need to evacuate are helpful in a severe weather event,” she said. 

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500. In life threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Media enquiries: NSW SES Media 1800 067 234 or media@ses.nsw.gov.au.

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