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Newcastle’s emergency service agencies hone their skills

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Newcastle’s emergency service agencies have finetuned their skills even further in readiness for any natural disasters.

Conducted by NSW Police, the annual Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) training simulation was attended by a variety of organisations including the NSW SES, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance, as well as utility providers such as Hunter Water, Telstra and Ausgrid.

The occasion also gave the parties an opportunity to familiarise themselves with City of Newcastle’s (CN) purpose-built emergency operations centre (EOC), established in Stewart Avenue since 2020.

The EOC boasts screens with live-stream capabilities, a 32-seat room and a commercial kitchen capable of providing meals, all in a central location with access to back-up power on site via diesel-powered generators.

It ensures CN can deliver critical business functions if a major incident causes disruption in Newcastle.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was vital for the city to be ready for any predicament.

“Newcastle is no stranger to natural disasters having experienced the 1989 earthquake and the Pasha Bulker storm in 2007,” she stated.

“So, it’s important to be prepared for any scenario.

“We’re committed to working with emergency services to ensure an integrated and coordinated approach in order to provide the best support to our community in an emergency.”

Superintendent Kylie Endemi admitted the types of training exercises were vital to ensuring agencies were always prepared.

“We conduct emergency operations training annually, covering a different crisis each year, from earthquakes to floods and tsunamis,” she said.

“In the face of overwhelming pressure, it’s important for every agency and utility provider to know what resources they have, what they might need and how they can best work within a coordinated response.”

It’s also a busy time for the local SES as it prepares to move from its current base at Tighes Hill to a new home at the Steel River Industrial Estate at Mayfield West.

The premises has been facilitated by CN under the State Emergency Service (SES) Act 1989, which requires councils to provide accommodation for the SES in its local government area (LGA), including suitable training facilities, storage and office accommodation.

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