Fire and Rescue NSW establishes crucial telecommunications for people of Eugowra - VIDEO - Eugowra

Published: 18 Nov 2022 02:53pm

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has established a portable communications cell in the flood-ravaged town of Eugowra to provide telephone and internet access for devastated residents.

When the flash flood struck the Central West township earlier this week, it also destroyed the local telecommunications infrastructure, preventing residents from contacting loved ones and vital government services for help.

Following the flash flood, the State Emergency Service, responsible for the crisis response, contacted FRNSW, requesting the deployment of its ‘Cell on Wheels’ mobile satellite communications hub.

The communications cell was last used in a major emergency to assist the community of Rappville, in the state’s north, during the 2019 bushfire disaster.

A team of five FRNSW telecommunications specialists today has established the technology hub in Eugowra.

The cell will allow local residents to make satellite calls and access the internet for up to two weeks whilst repairs to the town’s infrastructure can be carried out by the main telecommunications carriers.

The communications equipment was acquired and developed as part of FRNSW’s Natural Disaster and Humanitarian program, which assists communities in Australia and overseas in the aftermath of disasters, and its $56m “Connected Firefighter” project, funded by the NSW Government in 2020 in response to the Black Summer bushfire crisis.

FRNSW Deputy Commissioner – Field Operations Jeremy Fewtrell said the “Cell on Wheels’ will connect Eugowra residents with the outside world whilst the ‘Telco’s’ set about repairing the damaged networks.

“Telecommunications is a fundamental part of ‘everyday life’ these days, particularly when a community is trying to recover from a natural disaster such as these floods,” Deputy Commissioner Fewtrell said.

“Whether it’s phoning loved ones to let them know they are okay or contacting online essential government assistance, having this communications lifeline available is critical for the people of Eugowra.

“Just the ability to make a simple phone call or get a text message out to say ‘I’m okay’ in their time of need will mean the world to these residents.”
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***Media note: Footage of the Communications convoy prepping and leaving its Greenacre HQ, drone footage of the established Comms hub in Eugowra and grabs of Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell are available at this link: https://vimeo.com/772277582/fcae28a2b9 [external link]

Updated: 18 Nov 2022 02:58pm

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Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]

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