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[R3-dcom] WICEN during South Australian bushfires

2015-1-7 09:39
[R3-dcom] WICEN during South Australian bushfires

WICEN during South Australian bushfires

The bushfire that burned uncontrolled for many days since early new year
in the Adelaide hills blackened more than 12,500 hectares of land, destroyed
numerous houses, sheds and at least four business.

The bush and grass fires in temperatures about 40 degrees (Celsius) and winds
over 90km/h, sent 23 people, including firefighters to hospital. One man
remains in a serious condition after being hit by a falling tree.

It is sheep and cattle country with the loss of about 120 animals. Forecast
cooler weather was to dampen the fire threat, but locals know they need to
remain vigilant and prepared for the rest of summer.

WICEN President Nic McLean VK5ZAT reports that he has been at the One Tree
Hill staging area assisting, including the issuing of handheld radios to
SAVEM (SA Veterinary Emergency Management) a Response and Recovery agency
for animals, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

WICEN has commercial UHF handhelds available and also set up an aluminium
mast and antenna at the base station to give a more reliable range.

Nic VK5ZAT says WICEN works very closely with SAVEM, enabling the veterinary
community to effectively respond to any emergency incident involving companion
animals, wildlife and livestock.

While SAVEM can't provide an evacuation service for pets and other animals,
which should be in personal emergency plans, it helps any animals caught
up in an emergency.

An approach to WICEN by SAVEM in late 2013 resulted in an agreement of help
being provided with communications.

Nic VK5ZAT says SAVEM with its veterinarians and nurses has been doing good
work triaging, treating and euthanising animals, and where possible some
emotional support to the farmers and owners of the animals.

Having WICEN South Australia support with communication facilities has made
the vital humanitarian work a lot easier, and given radio amateurs a new
worthy additional customer.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

2015-1-8 09:10
[R3-dcom] WICEN helps in South Australia fires

WICEN helps in South Australia fires

After days of high temperatures, low humidity and wind that fanned a large
bushfire in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, comes rain with cooler
weather giving some relief to the area.

The fire that began nearly a week ago covered more than 12,500 hectares with
a 240-kilometre perimeter resulted in houses and sheds being destroyed and
wide areas of sheep and cattle farmland burnt. About 130 people including
firefighters needed medical treatment.

WICEN President Nic McLean VK5ZAT said UHF commercial handheld radios, which
WICEN owns, were given to SAVEM (SA Veterinary Emergency Management), and
a radio mast to extend the range was installed.

SAVEM with veterinary surgeons and nurses is recognised for its response
and recovery of companion animals, wildlife and livestock. WICEN has an agreement
with it to provide communications help.

SAVEM liaises with fire responders, emergency management and Biosecurity
South Australia. It uses radio communications and training, both in-vehicle
and with central control, through temporary masts, equipment and personnel
from WICEN.

SAVEM Nurse Coordinator, Carol Haley in a report said: "Radios supplied by
WICEN enabled efficient communication between each vehicle.

"Throughout the day the team attended koalas, kangaroos, possums, joeys,
cats and sheep, and spoke to many members of the public and animal owners."

She said the handhelds enabled effective communications in the Adelaide Hills
fireground area, while longer distance communication was through the South
Australian Government Network equipped fire vehicles.

Carol said: "A Sleepy Lizard was euthanased at Kersbrook oval, brought in
by a Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources fire crew - the
lizard's feet had been burnt off.

"Several animals (koala, kangaroo) with limb fractures... were euthanased
by the team's RSPCA officer. Two koalas and one grey kangaroo joey were triaged
and not treated locally, but taken back to Adelaide. Being treated for burns
were three kangaroo joeys (young ones)."

Channel 9 television did a live interview with Carol from SAVEM talking about
the work. SAVEM has been very busy, giving both animal rescue and WICEN some
good publicity.

-Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

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