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Firefighters continue storm response

Published: 22nd April 2015

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews have been busy responding to a total of 2,855 storm-related tasks over the last 36 hours across the Central Coast, Hunter and Sydney as the severe weather continues to impact eastern NSW.

FRNSW has taken around 5000 Triple Zero (000) calls since 4pm on Tuesday. Calls to Triple Zero (000) have now reduced to around 30 per hour in the two call centres at Sydney and Newcastle.

Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said it has been one of the busiest periods in the organisation’s history.

“We have had about 1,000 firefighters and 200 fire trucks responding to ongoing emergencies including flood rescues, house fires, serious road accidents with people trapped, trees down and building collapses,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“One of the main focuses for our crews today will be assessing the damage around Dungog in the Hunter Valley where about 80 homes have been badly damaged. Four homes were washed away by floodwater and yesterday firefighters carried out a number of rescues there and in Stroud.

Incidents firefighters have responded to since 10pm yesterday until 11am today include:

• Around 180 storm-related emergencies, including powerlines down and arcing, trees down and assisting members of the public
• 14 rescues, including firefighters rescuing three people from a car in floodwater at Maitland this morning, another person rescued from a car in floodwater at Canterbury and another at Bass Hill.
• About 185 other incidents and call outs such as fires, including a single story house fire at Horsley Park at around 3am, automatic fire alarms being set off by wind, power outages and heavy rain.

An Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team is also being deployed to Narrabeen in Sydney’s northern beaches where there are reports of a house slipping from its foundations.

Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW would continue to provide support to the NSW SES throughout today as extreme weather conditions continue.

“Our firefighters have been doing tremendous work responding to these storm-related tasks and assisting our other emergency service colleagues who have also been working hard to help the community,” he said.

People are reminded to only call Triple Zero (000) if it is a genuine emergency and to not drive through floodwater. For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500.