Marine Rescue Ulladulla has learnt some valuable lessons from the 2019-2020 bushfire season and is heading into 2021 with some major improvements to the service.
While volunteers performed admirably during the fires, manning the radio base, providing a communications link when the phone systems malfunctioned, rescuing one family of six from a beach, ferrying medical, food and water supplies to firefighters and families along our coastline, the team's assets were stretched to the limit.
In recognition of the critical role they played, 22 Marine Rescue Ulladulla volunteers recently received NSW Premier's Bushfire Emergency citations.
Volunteer Alan Brook was also a finalist in this month's Rotary Emergency Services Awards and a winner of the Shoalhaven division.
We're proud to serve this generous and resilient community.Marine Rescue Ulladulla
Losing power to their building highlighted the fact that the battery-backup system for the radios needed upgrading as well as the emergency generator. Although they did cope with the power outages, if the situation had lasted only a few more days, their resources may not have coped.
When the power was lost into the second and third days, their largest rescue vessel, Ulladulla 30 couldn't refuel as there was no power to the diesel pump at the wharf.
Once the emergencies were over, the team implemented a plan to future-proof their systems, and improve their disaster readiness.
They have upgraded the Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) to units with much larger capacities, replaced the small generator system and modified the fuel trailer to hold an additional tank of 400 litres of diesel.
There is also work about to start on the local antennae and radio network which will increase the coverage along the coastline.
Today, they're much better equipped to handle emergency situations for longer periods, particularly where power and phone coverage is interrupted. The rescue vessels can now operate on the water for extended periods without the need to refuel in remote locations.
"We're proud to serve this generous and resilient community, both through the bushfire crisis and in its recovery, doing all we can to ensure the safety of those enjoying recreational boating and fishing on our waterways," Marine Rescue Ulladulla spokesperson.