SLSQ’s Emergency Response Groups are designed to be an after-hours callout service to complement and support emergency services through our skills and equipment during times of need.
In 2009 SLSQ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Government which can now see volunteer surf lifesavers tasked to assist with natural disasters, emergency situations and various other after-hours callouts.
SLSQ now has established Emergency Response Groups operating in all regions across the state, providing vital assistance to emergency service authorities and agencies during times of crisis.
SLSQ continues to directly work with the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, State Emergency Service, Emergency Management Queensland, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Local Disaster Management Groups to develop key strategies as to how our resources and volunteers can best be used during emergency situations.
SLSQ’s diverse Emergency Response Groups proved crucial during Queensland’s devastating floods in January 2011, when SLSQ was tasked by EMQ to assist with emergency response and evacuations across South-East Queensland.
As the state experienced its worst flood crisis in three decades, more than 230 volunteer surf lifesavers from across South-East Queensland mobilised in Brisbane to help flood-stricken residents. In conjunction with Emergency Management Queensland, SLSQ established rescue coordination centres in Mount Gravatt and Newmarket to provide emergency response and assistance to Brisbane residents impacted by the rising flood waters.
Working in 12-hour shifts around the clock, SLSQ volunteers were dispatched to some of the hardest hit regions to coordinate search and rescue operations, provide vital medical assistance and assist the QPS with forced evacuations. The Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service was also tasked by emergency service agencies to undertake search and rescue activities in the Esk Region, where they saved the lives of seven people through winch rescues.
The success of this operation showed the important role that SLSQ services can play in emergency situations moving forward. Additionally, it is further proof of our demonstrated ability to provide a wider service to the community outside of our traditional role of keeping Queensland beaches safe.