“It’s amazing to see so much support for those in need” – Tara Gordon

Kempsey Shire Council

Council staff member Tara Gordon

With a huge portion of the Kempsey Shire impacted by flooding, the recovery response team were overwhelmed with calls for assistance and it was Tara’s role to record these calls where they would be actioned by multiagency support teams.

This week is Local Government Week, which is a week dedicated to the important work councils do for their communities.

To acknowledge our committed staff, we are sharing their stories from the March flood event and recovery.

Following floodwaters inundating the Kempsey Shire, Tara was based at the Emergency Operations Centre taking on a gate keeping role to ensure that information coming in was recorded correctly and responded to accordingly.

“All new recovery tasks were sent to me to add to a spreadsheet, and each day with this information we would discuss as a team how to allocate tasks, as well as utilising the expertise of the various incredible multi-agency support teams that had assembled to help the residents of the shire, both local and from around the state.”

“These were long days beginning at 7am and working throughout the day to work out new allocations for the agencies, before leaving the centre at around 8pm but they flew by, and it was truly amazing to be part of and see so much support for those in need.”

While the days Tara spent working at the Emergency Operations Centre were spent busily processing an incredible amount of information, Tara explained that no two days were the same and being around experienced leaders from multi-agencies was exhilarating.

“It was incredible to watch everyone at work, the leaders standing out with their calm guidance and direction, and the workers coming together, eager to support and keen to help wherever possible.”

“A particularly eye-opening moment was watching the helicopter footage live feed, seeing the devastation from the air as it was flying over the Moparrabah Bridge and realising that the bridge had been completely washed away.”

Amongst the devastation, Tara reflects on the better moments that were brought to light in the during the recovery response.

“There were some great light-hearted moments too, like when the Rural Fire Service Commander announced a pallet of Krispy Kremes had been delivered to the Emergency Operations Centre, which was a very welcomed sugar rush.”

“Finally, I think one of the most stand out moments to me were the numerous thank yous that were received from residents. The relief and sincerity in their voices was so lovely to hear and it really did make it an incredible experience.”

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