It’s an emergency - SES headquarters in need of repair

THE State Emergency Service has revealed it is working towards a better building for its Yamba volunteers, who have spoken out about the condition of their headquarters.

According to Yamba SES unit controller Wayne Fraser, damage caused by an infestation of termites three years ago, a dodgy electrical set-up, poor lighting and storage issues have made the building difficult to operate out of for its 20-plus active members.

Mr Fraser took The Daily Examiner through the Neptune Ave building on Friday after a quick safety briefing on the potential for splinters due to termite damage on walls in the kitchen and doorways.

Six trailers - for boats, storms and sandbags - were gridlocked in the double garage, which he said often translated to a longer response time to get to a job and presented a potential fire hazard due to the amount of flammable material in the one room.

It is a situation that has worsened gradually. Mr Fraser said that when the shed was first built more than 15 years ago, it housed a boat trailer and a truck.

Yamba SES members work at a training session at the Yamba shed.
Yamba SES members work at a training session at the Yamba shed. Adam Hourigan

But the building had not been able to keep up with the evolution of the unit, he said. "When I first took over four years ago I started talking to people at a regional level. I had the mayor here and his second in charge, and then second in charge of SES at the time," Mr Fraser said.

"I didn't know how much further I could go up but I think four years is just too long."

NSW SES Clarence Nambucca region controller Caroline Ortel said the council and the SES organisation were currently reviewing the situation to rectify issues with the building. "We do have some (state) government funding, so we're trying to determine best options to move forwards," she said.

"Unfortunately land is limited in Yamba for a new facility, so we're focused on renovations."

Ms Ortel said options, including off-site storage of non-critical equipment and the demolition of the current building to make way for a new one, were also being explored.

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