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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Craig Crawford

    Cairns swiftwater firefighters the first in Qld to utilise new motorised rescue craft capabilities

    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Craig Crawford

    Friday, April 06, 2018

    Cairns swiftwater firefighters the first in Qld to utilise new motorised rescue craft capabilities

    Cairns firefighters have become the first in Queensland to use one of the state’s new motorised swiftwater craft - to rescue two people trapped in their car by rising floodwaters following Tropical Cyclone Nora.

    Speaking in Cairns today (Friday), Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford praised the efforts of Acting Station Officer Paul Neil and Senior Fire Fighter Joshua Hyde, who were involved in the emergency at Thomatis Creek Bridge on March 27.

    The firefighters were reunited this morning at Cairns Fire Station with one of the people they saved from the stranded vehicle.

    “I’ve been highlighting the skills of our QFES crews, and the capabilities of these motorised craft for some time, and now we are recognising the first actual rescue – which took place in my electorate of Barron River,” Mr Crawford said.

    “The professionalism and bravery of the two firefighters certainly came to the fore, and using the new motorised craft meant they didn’t have to rely on paddled or tethered inflatable rafts.

    “This emergency highlights the level of efficiency these new craft provide to our specially-trained crews, who continue to do a tremendous job whenever and wherever the need arises,” he said.

    The Palaszczuk Government has provided 11 of the new motorised craft, which are positioned around the state. An additional six craft are due for delivery in coming months.

    Member for Cairns Michael Healy said Queenslanders can be confident QFES is well-equipped to respond to swiftwater rescues – which are one of the most dangerous activities performed by crews.

    “It is vital QFES personnel have access to first-class equipment, especially during events such as Tropical Cyclone Nora, which dumped a significant amount of rain in the region and caused flash-flooding,” Mr Healy said.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is ensuring crews have the necessary tools to bolster their response to any future incidents.”

    Mr Crawford said QFES personnel in the Far Northern Region completed 553 SES jobs, and conducted 626 damage assessments between 1 February 2018 and 3 April 2018.

    He said crews responded to more than 80 weather-related incidents - including 35 water-related incidents. Staff and volunteers were also deployed to Cooktown, Port Douglas, Cairns, Innisfail, Mareeba, Weipa, Aurukun, Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw to support local operations and partner agencies.

    QFES Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said the response to the recent severe weather events was a “joint effort”.

    “Community preparedness during severe weather events makes a world of difference, and it’s important we always acknowledge their assistance,” Mr Bolger said.

    “QFES will continue to support the community and work to strengthen our response capability. We hear it time and time again, but we’re a resilient bunch, so I am confident the region is capable of meeting any future challenges or risks.”

    For SES assistance call 132 500 and for life threatening emergencies, always call Triple Zero (000).

    ENDS

    MEDIA 0412 393 909