Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Simon Corbell today announced four specialist ACT Fire Brigade urban search and rescue (USAR) firefighters will be deployed to Christchurch to help in the recovery effort following this morning's earthquake.
"These four highly qualified ACT specialist firefighters will form a large Fire and Rescue NSW contingent following a formal request for assistance from New Zealand authorities," Mr Corbell said.
"These four ACT firefighters are trained to work in areas of major structural damage and underground tunnelling through collapsed buildings," he said.
The major earthquake was centred south of the city with a 6.3 magnitude.
"It will be some time until the full picture of the devastation including number of fatalities is known. I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those people killed in the earthquake today. My thoughts, and I sure those of all Canberrans, are with all those affected by this tragedy," Mr Corbell said.
"I am proud that the ACT will once again be able to come to the aid of another jurisdiction in their time of need," he said.
"Our urban search and rescue firefighters will use their knowledge, skill and experience to do a thorough and systematic search of the area in an attempt to find survivors and victims of the tragedy that has unfolded.
"Working in a confined space takes extreme skill and this contingent will provide great assistance to the other emergency services on scene.
"All Canberrans should be proud of the work these emergency service professionals do in times of crisis. Even though the ACT is a small jurisdiction geographically, we have a high level of USAR expertise that we can offer with assistance to other regions.
"Our assistance to New Zealand follows on from the recent work that other specialist ACT urban search and rescue firefighters carried out last month during the flood crisis in Queensland. The ACT Emergency Services Agency Mapping and Planning Support group assisted the Red Cross in Queensland and the ACT State Emergency Service is continuing its work in the state following Tropical Cyclone Yasi after deploying volunteers to also assist in the earlier flood crisis."The ACT firefighters will fly out of Sydney tonight and be deployed for ten days. I wish them well and to be safe whilst working in the very dangerous terrain around the city."
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