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14 October 2020
A Wimmera emergency officer has described a return to face-to-face training as ‘critical’ as the likelihood of unpredictable wet weather increases for the warmer months.
A surge of dedicated Wimmera State Emergency Services volunteers are set to get back into their regional stations for face-to-face training this month, following restrictions to all but ‘essential training’ during August and September to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Dimboola deputy controller Lauren Hawkins said training would focus on flood preparedness.
Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal rain outlook for October to December shows a high likelihood to exceed median rainfall across the state, with a greater than 80 percent chance across Grampians, Hume and Loddon Mallee regions.
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“Our critical, essential training is brushing up on our skills in preparedness of the predicted spring weather and above average rain,” Ms Hawkins said.
“As VICSES is the control agency for storm and flood, we need to ensure we are ready to respond and are able to prepare our local community through education and resources.”
Ms Hawkins said team members were able to start training at the weekend.
“It was great to get back. We have strict protocols we are required to follow which includes the safety of our members and social distancing, practicing good hygiene and limiting the number of people attending training,” she said.
Deputy controller Caleb Baldock said during COVID-19 restrictions, crews could only complete training for road crash rescues.
He said the easing of restrictions would help new members progress further into training that was put on hold because of the pandemic.
– Dylan De Jong