The storm at Ballina on February 22, 2013.
The storm at Ballina on February 22, 2013.

Blackout generates SES wish list

BLACKOUTS are an annoyance for anyone during a storm, but spare a thought for the State Emergency Service.

When the most recent storm swept across the region midway through last month, the Ballina SES unit's headquarters also lost power, inspiring an item on the unit's wish list.

Local controller Gerry Burnage said the unit has some small generators that were fired up to run the computers used to log calls for help and to task volunteers.

But he said two of the four computers "blew up" because of power surges.

The volunteer organisation has now added a generator big enough to power the Angels Beach Dr headquarters during blackouts to the plans for the proposed revamp of the building.

Mr Burnage said those who phone the SES during an emergency speak to the state call centre in Wollongong and the operators log the call on a computer which is then visible to the local volunteers.

He said the Ballina unit received about 300 calls for help during the last storm event, and the computers were an integral part of the operation.

And the plans to rebuild the main shed, with a mezzanine level to provide more space for training and operational work, were only in their infancy.

The estimated cost of the rebuild is about $500,000. Mr Burnage said it was hoped a permanent generator for the building could be included in those plans.


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