The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Emerald unit has issued a plea for public assistance after critical rescue equipment was stolen over the weekend.
Life-saving gear used during road rescue operations by VICSES volunteer crews, are among the items taken from the unit.
Some of the other items include:
- Car trailer, with registration Z36 890
- Back-up battery from unit’s generator
- Four wheels from a donated car
- Gate compromised.
With a severe weather warning for damaging winds still current for parts of the state, including the Emerald area, it’s vital the equipment is returned as soon as possible.
“It’s really heartbreaking to come in and see our unit in such a state,’’ Emerald unit controller Ben Owen said.
“Incidents like this risks our volunteers’ ability to provide appropriate storm response and road rescue services during a vital time of year.
“We are all really devastated. After the last few busy months we have had, and with the current COVID-19 climate to top it off, it’s just really frustrating and, ultimately, it’s the community that suffers.
“Hopefully we can get the equipment back as soon as possible, and continue to do what we do best – support our local community.”
It comes just two months after damaging winds struck the Dandenong Ranges.
VICSES Emerald unit volunteers experienced one of the busiest 48 hours recorded in the organisation’s history, receiving more than 800 calls for help.
The Emerald unit also had one of its vehicles crushed during that storm.
In the past 12 months, the VICSES Emerald unit has responded to more than 2200 requests for assistance.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or the Emerald Police Station on Belgrave-Gembrooke Road in Emerald.