THE Esperance community will be better equipped to deal with emergency incidents with the opening of the new Esperance Collocated Emergency Services Facility.
Emergency Services Minister Rob Johnson has toured the $3.2million building, which will be the new home of the local Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS), State Emergency Service (SES) and Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS).
Mr Johnson said the Esperance facility would enhance the volunteers’ ability to respond to emergencies, including bush and structure fires; storms; floods; road crash rescues; and search and rescue incidents.
“Esperance is extremely fortunate to have so many dedicated men and women who perform these tasks, at all hours of the day or night, with professionalism and care,” he said.
“Most people would remember the devastation caused by the floods in Esperance in 2007 that damaged many homes and properties.
“Esperance experienced more than 150 millimetres of rain in less than 24 hours, which caused significant flooding to many homes and businesses in the shire.
“It was dubbed ‘The Perfect Storm’ and saw the local volunteer services spring into action to respond to the 135 calls for assistance they received from Esperance and Ravensthorpe residents.
“That storm resulted in a damage bill of $11million, but with local agencies working together, the people of Esperance were able to get their lives back on track.”
The Minister said as well as highlighting the valuable role that emergency services played, the storm exposed the need for new facilities for Esperance’s emergency services.
“The building being used by the SES and VMRS crews at the time was itself inundated with flood water,” he said.
“It must have been incredibly challenging for staff and volunteers to manage such a significant incident from a flood-damaged building.
“With major upgrades needed to the existing buildings being used by the emergency services in Esperance, a decision was made to build a new collocated facility.
“I am confident all volunteers will be very happy in their new premises and I have no doubt they will continue to provide high quality essential services to the Esperance region for many more years to come.”
The Esperance Collocated Emergency Services Facility is located at Brazier Street.