New England North West Fire and Rescue fight fires and floods over five-month period | The Northern Daily Leader

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Fires, floods, storms and everything in between – New England North West Fire and Rescue crews have seen it all over the past five months. And they’ve been going at it pretty much non-stop – whether it be working on their own, alongside the Rural Fire Service, the SES or another emergency service. Zone commander Tom Cooper said at times Fire and Rescue “weren’t quite at the bottom of the barrel” but they were getting close. The long haul started with fires in Wytaliba, near Glen Innes, and has continued with floods around the region. “We had a big commitment in Glen Innes when the fires started there in September,” zone commander Cooper said. “That finished just before Christmas, had a week off and then sent crews to South Coast – Nowra, Bega – then tracked to Cooma and Snowy Mountains. They were sent home but were called back a week later. “The crew were still on their way back on February 8 when flooding occurred in Narrabri. “We had strike teams in the Snowy Mountains and had a number of incidents occurring in Werris Creek at the same time.” He added: “It’s been a constant effort from the whole zone since – pretty much – the end of August.” READ ALSO: Zone commander Cooper said while the stations were stretched at times, a number of things got them through. “It was a good effort by Fire and Rescue to have such broad capabilities in quite differing circumstances – fires in one part and floods in the other,” he said. “We had the capability to send a strike team anywhere as well. We were basically triple parked if you like – one [crew] at bushfires, one at floods and one ready to go. “That’s an indicator of the depth of resources that Fire and Rescue NSW has.” Zone commander Cooper said it wasn’t just the depth that got his team through tough times. “We’re prepared for anything,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of members for a start – and they’re highly trained in all aspects of emergency consequence management. They have a broad skill-set when it comes to fires, hazmat incidents, rescue work and storm recovery. And some are trained in flood rescues.”

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