Emergency efforts earn new base

NEW headquarters will soon accommodate growing numbers of Lowood State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers.

The old facility was built in 1984 and with both regular SES volunteers and cadets using the building, Somerset SES controller Andy Bickerton said existing headquarters were “bursting at the seams”.

Mr Bickerton said the facility would have improved accommodation for vehicles, trailers and flood boats, larger training facilities, lecture rooms, offices and separate storage for volunteers and the cadet group.

“We've been talking about getting new facilities for the past three or four years,” he said.

Mr Bickerton said 20 emergency services cadets plus a team of 12 adult leaders and about 20 members in the regular SES group used the existing Lowood headquarters in Walters Street.

The new headquarters to be built in Lindermans Road, Lowood will accommodate for 100 active and reserve SES volunteers in the Somerset Unit.

The volunteers are skilled in a range of activities such as flood response, incident management, search and rescue, storm response, traffic management and agency support.

“They are quite active, we get called out to local jobs of storm damage or searches or traffic control or flooding - which have all happened in the last 12 months,” Mr Bickerton said.

“And we also assist in the Brisbane and Ipswich areas and down at the Gold Coast.”

Emergency Management Queensland South-East regional director Eddie Bennet said the new facility would provide more room for volunteers in a growing community.

“The Lowood facility will be larger than the previous SES headquarters and will be equipped with a training room and an additional drive through bay for vehicles and trailers,” he said.

“Additionally, it will have the capacity to house other emergency services groups in the future. The larger, better equipped facility will also mean the Lowood SES unit will be well-prepared to respond to any emergency they face in the years to come.”

Member for Ipswich West Wayne Wendt said the new facilities were part of $7 million to be spent over the next four years on facilities and equipment for SES volunteers in Queensland.

It is hoped the new Lowood SES building will be finished in the next 12 months.

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