Thursday, 29 September 2016

Under the Radar

Hi everyone,
It's after midnight and I've been up since about 0330.  It's been a busy few days of anxiously watching the weather radar and planning for disasers that might never happen.

The putative disasters have all related to a sharp, well organised low pressure system hovering over the coast of South Australia.  This system has absolutely trashed the Festival State - it knocked the power grid out altogether to the entire state - and was expected to come this way next.  This was what it looked like yesterday (strictly, the day before yesterday) according to the weather radar at Mount Gambier -

Most of Victoria was under a severe weather warning yesterday, and in line with my mission in life I was spending a decent whack of my energies trying to get the word out. I kept sharing the warnng maps on various social media platforms and also republished (with approval) the relevant SES media release on our unit facebook page as a Note.  This was the map that was rather exercising me -
A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

I also shared the media-release-cum-note on the Unit twitter account.  I'm rather proud that we managed to get a shoutout from Bruce Roberts, the anchor on the local WIN-TV News.  Hungry for fame!

In the event, we didn't get many callouts at all: when I looked at the radar last night the storm system seemed to have lost some of its impetus.  We got quite a bit of wind last night, and at 0330 I was woken by my pager advising me of a tree down/traffic hazard.  I was the Duty Officer, and my instinct said it would be the first job of many (as people started going to work and found trees down everywhere), so I activated the 4WD and storm-trailer (which I  drove) and the truck and headed out there.  In the event it was the only job of the morning, aside from a small tree down I found on my way home, and so I just pressed on with the day from there.

Today has been orange heavy again - a long conversation with one of my superiors regarding a few operational matters, then a bunch of cleaning and running around both at the unit in Tatura and then in Shepparton, and then dinner with Beck and Anthony, two close friends from the Unit, followed by training (casualty handling, with quite a few new and prospective members!).  A request was put out for people willing to be deployed to South Australia to help with disaster recovery there.  I was initially keen to go, but then thought about a number of other things and decided against it - among others, the current internal dynamics of the unit, and also the fact that I've been away from home a lot for SES over the last week and been doing principally SES stuff when I AM home.  I felt that going away for a four day deployment seemed like not the best thing I could do.  I'd love to, but having taken on added responsibilities here (unit controller, for instance) I had to decide as best I could where I would do most good.

Not much other news to share.  I didn't get a position as a seasonal firefighter, which is a shame.  On the other hand, my dear friend (and former secretary) Giz shared a picture of the briefs she had prepared for the circuit hearings coming up in a law firm I worked at once upon a time.  As I look at them I can scarcely believe that's what my life used to look like.  I don't think I could ever go back to it now.

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

I don't know what the future holds for me.  But as improbable as it sounds, as as difficult as things can be sometimes, I think I'm on the right track.

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