SLSQ lifesavers during the Brisbane floods in January 2011.
SLSQ lifesavers during the Brisbane floods in January 2011. Michael Masrston

Qld lifesavers join rescue team

THEY are becoming the “SES of the water”.

The Bligh Government has called Surf Life Saving Queensland into the State Disaster Management Group.

This means that in the same way the lifesavers swung into action during the Brisbane floods earlier in the year, they again will be asked to help in times of danger.

Although the announcement was made yesterday, SLSQ chief operations officer George Hill said it was their help in Noosa and Tewantin that first suggested the red and yellow army was capable of more.

“In 2007, there were floods in Noosa west and in Tewantin,” Mr Hill said.

“Sunshine Beach and Noosa lifesavers were asked to help people trapped in the floods.

“(Police Minister) Neil Roberts was impressed.”

Mr Hill said this impression meant that when Brisbane was inundated, the lifesavers were again called to help.

“Easily 100 volunteers plus boats were involved from the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“Now any similar disasters or floods – any time volunteers of SES or Surf Life Saving can assist, we can be called on.

“We will train them up to be able to help.

“We were not 100% ready for the Queensland floods but we want to build on that.

“We could become almost the SES of the water.

“Lifesavers will not replace the role done by another other emergency service group, we just add to it.”

Premier Anna Bligh was on the Sunshine Coast earlier this month to thank surf lifesavers for their role in the floods.

In her remarks about SLSQ's new role, Ms Bligh said the state would be ready to work with lifesavers before the next wet season.

“During the floods, surf lifesavers sent about 30 rubber duckies and rescue crews to Brisbane,” she said.

“More than 230 members assisted with the emergency response.

“SLSQ's helicopter was also directly responsible for rescuing seven people from the Lockyer Valley as well as conducting 23 searches in the area.”

Mr Hill said it was an honour to be part of the emergency response fabric.

“We don't just have rubber duckies – we have helicopters, four-wheel-drives, communication systems and jet boats.

“Next time the State Government needs us, we'll be there to help where we can without getting out of our depth.

“We want to keep the Queensland community safe.”

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