We’ve all faced an unprecedented and frightening week or so. But now that I’ve had time to take stock I find that I am just incredibly proud of our community and our emergency services and how they worked together to look after each other.
The RFS, Police and all the official agencies have been unbelievable. I was privileged to be at the Fire Control Centre for several days when the emergency was at its height and there was a constant presence of emergency staff working almost around the clock.
They all knew what they had to do and they all ‘stayed in their lane’ to make sure it happened.
And the community carefully listened to the advice they were given, acted on it and made sure they were prepared for what Mother Nature was threatening to bring.
The RFS staff and volunteers were amazing. As conditions changed, the control room plans changed and the people on the ground responded immediately and calmly.
My heart goes out to everyone who has been directly hit by the fires. I’m immensely grateful that we didn’t have more widespread devastation, but that doesn’t lessen the hurt and grief of those whose homes or livelihoods have been impacted.
I know they will be supported by the wonderful people who make up our community – the people who opened their homes and hearts to family, friends and strangers.
I was awed by the numbers of people who made an effort to donate essential items– and offered to distribute it wherever it was needed.
All the volunteers who helped in whatever capacity were incredible. And the evacuation centres in Coffs, Woopi, Urunga and Dorrigo were such a comfort. As was the centre for pets at the Showground.
I’d like to thank all of those who played an integral part in the emergency operations – NSW Police, RFS, Council staff, Bellingen Shire Council, Fire and Rescue NSW, Highway Patrol, FACS, SES, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Local Land Services, CDC Buses, RMS, NSW Ambulance, Community Transport, Air Services Australia, Busways/Forest, Essential Energy, Department of Education, Mid North Coast Local Health District, Gurmesh Singh MP, Pat Conaghan MP and the media.
And all those people whose simple acts of kindness to others helped someone in need – thanks is not a big enough word.