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  • Writer's pictureMagnetic Community News


Pictured above: Shawn & Rod on a roof in Arcadia.

Magnetic Island SES, like most businesses on the island, is feeling the pinch of the after effects of COVID. People are busy, very busy because the itinerant backpacker workforce has dried up. It means people don’t have the time to dedicate to SES training. Combine this with the usual ‘loss’ of members (many aren’t lost, they just move to different Groups) as people move off the island and we are very short staffed.

We desperately need new members, now!

If we get a cyclone this season, or even another big storm event, we will only be able to put three teams into the field. This simply won’t be enough, especially for a big event, and if what hits us also hits Townsville nobody from over there will come over to help. With the number of members we have now we will not be able to sandbag houses except for those genuinely unable to do it themselves or find a friend or relative to help. We won’t be able to bring sandbags to you either, but will have a small stash in Horseshoe Bay for pickup.

As a ‘remote’ island that is often cut off during storm events we need to be resilient. We need to be able to self help during disasters, especially if the ferry and barge aren’t running and if the power and water are cut off. Individuals can help by making sure they have enough bottled water and canned food to last at least five days, make sure you have a first aid kit, a torch and a battery operated radio. You should have fuel for a generator(if you have one) but need to take care not to power up the grid. That could kill someone if Ergon says a power line is safe but a generator is subsequently connected to it via an un-isolated meter box. Use extension leads to power appliances and never plug into a wall socket!

Our roads are often blocked by landslides after a big rain. We will preposition a storm trainer in Horseshoe Bay this season and we have 5 members there who can form a local team. We have 10 active members in Nelly Bay which is of course where our shed and vehicles are. So we will be able to support these bays to a certain extent after a storm event.

But we currently have no active members in Picnic Bay and Arcadia and if these bays are isolated by a land-slip we simply won’t be able to help!!!

While locals were great during the big rain two years ago, we can only use trained people on roofs because of the height, working in wind a rain and the dangers of working around solar panels. We need more trained members and we need them soon.

Unlike the mainland, and because our population is smaller and rapidly changing, we accept new members at any time of the year and can finish the required paperwork (to cover members for workers comp etc) and start initial training. We won’t be able to do operational training between now and the storm season, but we can use the brains, hands and feet in a number of ways that don’t involve climbing or working with chainsaws.

So please, if you have considered joining the SES but just haven’t got around to it, do it now. The island needs you. We meet Wednesdays at 7pm at 57 Kelly St (opposite the concrete works). You can find us on Facebook or email us at

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