AS a home to the Harvey Hills Bushfire Brigade and Harvey State Emergency Service Unit, the new Harvey Emergency Services Centre has the capacity to serve as a regional control centre.
Officially opened on Saturday, the centre includes vehicle garages for both groups, training, radio and operations rooms, administration offices and a shed.
Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan was on hand to open the centre with Department of Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Darren Clemm, MurrayWellington MLA Robyn Clarke, Forrest MHR Nola Marino, South West MLC Colin Holt, Harvey shire president Tania Jackson and councillors and volunteers in attendance.
Mr Logan said the equipment at the centre was directly linked to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ command centre in Cockburn.
“There is a direct link with not only the State control centre and the Bureau of Meteorology but also they can directly contact the brigades that are out there in the field,” he said.
Cr Jackson said with Harvey’s position between Mandurah and Bunbury, the facility could act as a key emergency control centre in emergencies.
“We have Mandurah to the north and we have Bunbury to the south but we can be a key central point for incident control,” she said.
Cr Jackson said the new centre had been planned for the past 15 years with the linked duties of the groups making economic and organisational sense to bring them together.
“We’ve been working on this for nearly 15 years to try and meld the two organisations into a workable building where both still have their autonomy,” she said.
“They play different roles but they complement each other and some of their members are active in both services so it made sense to put them together.” Mrs Clarke said the centre was a much-needed upgrade for Harvey and the region, which aided collaboration between the groups.
As well as updated facilities, Mr Logan said the centre would attract more people to volunteer with the groups.
“By having this facility here it shows that not only are they acknowledged by the State but it gives them a centre where people can gravitate to.” Cr Jackson said the focus of the new centre was on the volunteers.
“This is about volunteers, how much of an important role they play and how much the whole community appreciates that,” she said.
Source: Harvey-Waroona Reporter.