Page 67

Then they could make a phone call or call up on the

During the evening, we had confirmation of the loss of life,

I don’t think that you can really say thanks, because

two-way and try and provide the assistance that was

I knew Lonica as the Community Emergency Services

thanks really doesn’t sum up our feelings. The fact is

needed.

Coordinator, Chief Bush Fire Control Officer Tom Brown,

you know if this was to happen in someone else’s back

along with DFES Area Officer Gavin Wornes would be

yard, you are going to step up.

Early afternoon we found out that the Cascade fire had

very busy over the next few days. Lonica asked me if I

broke containments and was running very fast. After that

would take her Emergency Services phone and continue

That’s the thing, thanks is fine, and it’s great to hear it,

point there were a couple of calls that came in by two-

to manage incoming calls.

but the fact is these people know, if this was to happen in

way, that have stuck with me.

their back yard, the Shire of Esperance, the Esperance I did that for the next 8 days and along with Mel Ammon,

community and the Bushfire Brigade Volunteers would

“You need to evacuate Scaddan, Scaddan’s gonna be

who manned the night shift for that period, we acted in

step up and return the favour.

hit – it’s a 20 kilometre front, it’s gonna hit in 15 minutes.”

an ongoing local government advisor/ support role to the

To hear that and to think – crap, we need to move quickly.

Incident Management Team that had come down from Perth.

“It’s jumped the Coolgardie Highway.” “I’ve got the teacher out but it’s hot on my heels.” “A house is on fire – I’m running out of water.”

During those 8 days I got a fair understanding of the role. When the position of Emergency Services Coordinator came up 6 months later, I applied. I had always been

These were two-way calls that all occurred as it went

interested in the job, but after the experience I had during

through Scaddan. These last four statements – although

the fire, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

just a few words each – really stand out for me. It wasn’t a smooth road and it took 3 months of back and About 7.15pm that night, was the first time since I had

forth before I got the job – but I was determined to do it.

walked into the DFES office that morning, which I actually

In a way, the experiences of the fire have helped put me

got back outside. I had spent the whole time sitting at

in the position I am in now.

the desk. And when I went outside, it was very surreal because it was the first time I felt how hot the day had

I have been asked if there is another word to say besides

been. It was still very hot at quarter past seven - and

‘thanks’ that properly expresses the amount of gratitude

there was ash everywhere in the street.

people feel.

karen naylor | pg 65

Profile for shireofesperance

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