[First filed: February 15, 2007 @ 16:19]
Simon Corbell has proudly announced a new phone number for when you need the SES to come along and put a tarp on your roof.
It replaces the old number of 6207 8455. The new number is the same in NSW just to make your life easier, but be warned it’s going to be answered by the Canberra Connect mob which should free up some resources in the SES at least.
UPDATED: I’ve had a mail in from an SES member who chooses to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the politburo:
I can’t comment on this on RA as ESA regularly trolls through the site looking at comments… Put simply, they do not like criticism from their members, and they can make life tough for those who would speak out. Like sack me. Apparently if you have a problem with something in SES you have to go through the chain of command, which means once it leaves a unit at commander level and gets to ESA, it is never heard of again. The politics (and nepotism) that exists in ESA is quite incredible.
Anyway, the problem with this new number is that it adds another link into the communication system, and as we know, the system in place is already rubbish as ESA cannot handle or coordinate the masses of calls they get whenever there is a situation, such as the bushfires, or even major storm damage.
By using the NSW number for SES call outs people will have to report the damage, address, etc to Canberra Connect, who will then relay this onto ESA. This will cause a time delay, as well as incongruous information, given that Canberra Connect people have no idea about storm damage etc.
Thus, the way I see it, we will end up with garbled messages about storm damage, and yet when we get to the job it will bare no resemblance to what we thought it would be. It will just add more confusion to where crews are being deployed. At present we often end up with Tuggeranong crews working in Belconnen and Belconnen crews working in Tuggeranong simply because ESA can’t get their act together regarding deployments. As well, the new, all singing all dancing Firelink comms system is useless, absolutely and totally useless. As soon as you have more than 4-5 vehicles on the road it falls over, and yet they continue to persist with it. I had a good laugh when it was demonstrated to Corbell a month or so ago and he declared it to be working perfectly. That was because they put 2-3 vehicles on the road and no more.
It is a good idea to have a dedicated number, but the way they have done it defies logic. They would be better off having a direct link to ESA in Curtin so that trained SES/RFS members can answer calls and make judgements based on experience.
I should add that SES and RFS are going to take some severe cost cutting over the next year or so. Some of the proposals that have been put forward by the new bean counting Commissioner are just laughable, simply because everyone in the filed knows that they will not work. Tony Graham appears to be stuck in the middle of one, the need for more resources, and two, his political masters telling him to cut back on spending. Needless to say, there is a great deal of consternation and anger in both SES/ RFS volunteers at how the government is treating us.
Having said all this, I still think it’s a great thing to do, and I love doing it.