Small village built in 42 hours to house emergency services

BASE CAMP: Rural Fire Service Acting Manager Site Mitigation Support Services Kerry Parkinson and her team at the fully self-contained Base Camp at Wollongbar TAFE campus.
BASE CAMP: Rural Fire Service Acting Manager Site Mitigation Support Services Kerry Parkinson and her team at the fully self-contained Base Camp at Wollongbar TAFE campus. Alison Paterson

FORTY-two hours.

That's all it took for the Rural Fire Service was able to establish a sophisticated and fully operational base camp at Wollongbar TAFE campus to house, feed, shelter and organise hundreds of volunteers and career emergency personnel from the RFS, NSW Fire & Rescue, State Emergency Services and St John' Ambulance, who are here to assist with the flood recovery efforts.

In pouring rain and navigating muddy conditions, the RFS team established a camp with over 50 tents, lighting, hundreds of blankets, pillows, stretchers, chairs and dozens of tables, portable showers and toilets, not to mention a full-blown kitchen, mess hall, offices, first aid / medical tent and decontamination area.

Along with dozens of sleeping tents laid out with military precision, the base camp also contains a huge kitchen, mess hall, showers and toilets, an isolation area for any ill personnel, as well as offices for the operational teams to direct strike teams.

It's as though a small village magically appeared, but in reality, it was all due to hard work, good planning and a desire to look after the people who were arriving in Lismore to help the residents and business owners devastated by the floods.


RFS acting manager site mitigation support services, Kerry Parkinson is in charge of the base camp and she said it was very much a an inter-agency success story.

"We need to acknowledge the assistance from St John's Ambulance and the HAZMAT division of NSW Fire & Rescue were invaluable in establishing the decontamination and managing the ongoing facility," she said.

"Its a real credit Danny and the other guys who have a fabulous job."

Ms Parkinson said her team in Sydney were already undertaking their logistics to provide the camp when the call came through to activate their services.

"From our perspective we were expecting the call as we watched the events unfold in NSW and interstate (as) we are registered with Emergency Management Australia as a base camp supplier," she said.

"So my staff back in Sydney had already started pre-loading the equipment, but we were not expecting a call to establish a camp of this size."

Ms Parkinson said the team which included RFS SMSS supervisor Danny Busch, are all very well trained and had just some off a training exercise where they had out up a base camp in record time at Broken Hill.

"We went for ma weekend of 42 of erecting a base camp to erecting one here in stormy weather," Mr Busch said.

He said it's been a challengie and the RFS aim was to have the camp self-sufficient and not impeding on catering or other services already under pressure to look after people impacted by the floods.

Topics:  lismore floods nsw fire & rescue rural fire serivice st john's ambulance wollongbar tafe

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Ballina brewery getting ready to serve cold ones

Seven Mile Brewing Company development underway near Ballina Airport.

New brewery will delight locals, owner says

Councillors to debate 4WD access at Ballina beach

OPEN THE GATE: Northern Beaches Users Club president, Denis Magnay, and other 4WD owners want council to open the track at Angels Beach.

Read the hot topics for Ballina Shire Council meeting today

Skatepark bounces between sites

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Aerial view of the suggested location of the skate park at the sports fields.

Young skateboarders forgiven for thinking there was a tennis match

Local Partners

Celebrity recipes help bring flavour and joy

COOKING for celebrities is no easy feat but Chef Kate McAloon has served up her dishes to some of Hollywood's best known.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Shoes make difference to kids in Zambia

MANY SHOES: Toowoomba Grammar School's Adrian Irwin and Fairholme College's Libby Stumer with shoes collected for children in Zambia.

Students are making a difference, creating a new project

A musical audience with the king of Egypt

ON STAGE: The Pharaoh (played by Matthew Wood) and dancers in Ballina Players' upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat..

Ballina Player's new production opens this weekend

Schapelle Corby's Bali boyfriend 'lonely' now she's free

SCHAPELLE Corby’s boyfriend Ben Panangian has spoken of his loneliness for the first time since his lover of 11 years was deported from Bali.

‘One of the most ludicrous films ever made’

Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Last Knight.

Transformers: The Last Knight has been shredded by critics.

Transformers movie bombs to horror opening week

Optimus Prime in a scene from, "Transformers: The Last Knight."

Transformers 5 had the worst opening in the franchise’s history

How 9/11 helped make Waleed Aly a household name

Waleed Aly and Susan Carland at the 2016 Logie Awards

“It feels like there was a script written for me,” he said.

Pixar weighs in on viral Toy Story theory

Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

DID Andy’s dad tragically die just before the story took place?

VIRAL VIDEO: Campaign to bring beloved nanny to Maryborough

** ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, OCT. 16 **FILE**This promotional photo provided by Disney Home Entertainment shows actors Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert in a scene from the 40th anniversary edition of the Disney DVD. P. L. Travers, author of the "Mary Poppins" books, approved of Andrews as Poppins but considered Van Dyke "all wrong" and objected to mixing animated characters with live actors. (AP Photo/Disney Home Entertainment)

Can we get Dame Julie Andrews to come to our festival?

Ocean views up for sale at Bargara Rise

LAND RELEASE: Rob Sergiacomi on site at the Bargara Rise development off Watsons Road Bargara.

More ocean-view land comes on the market at Bargara

Blueberries help property market boom

RURAL MARKET: Elders sale agent Terry Deefholts, Norman Arkan and rural sales agent Angus McDonald.

Growth in the rural property market

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!