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Salvos ready and active as bushfire season heats up across Australia

Salvation Army Emergency Services team are trained and ready for what’s expected to be a busy fire season.

Summer has not yet hit Australia and The Salvation Army is already working in emergency and recovery operations for bushfires at the beginning of what is expected to be a busy fire season.

At the Kempsey Recovery Centre in Willawarrin, north New South Wales, Major Bev Kingston and her team have been handing out recovery grants for people affected by a bushfire in the area.

“The sad thing is that it’s a lot of the same people who were impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires,” she said. “People are better prepared this time around, but they are still traumatised.”

She said her faith was strengthened when a Christian couple visited the recovery centre and talked about an answer to prayer that they had received as the bushfire raced towards their home.

“When she saw the fire coming, she rang her church family and got them to pray,” remembered Bev. “It was the middle of the night. Afterwards, one couple said to her that between midnight and 2am, they were praying that the wind would change direction.

Major Bev Kingston’s faith was strengthened when a couple told of an answer to prayer that saved their property during the recent north NSW bushfires.

“She showed us a photo of the fire heading straight for her house at that exact time. When it got to her fence line, it turned away. A true testimony to the power of prayer!”

Bev said the recovery team is ready for what’s expected to be a busy fire season in the area, but she has encouraged more Salvos to get trained so they can assist in recovery and evacuation centres if needed. “I would encourage people to get involved. There is training, so get prepared now.”

The Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) is also ready and on standby to assist at evacuation centres or in feeding emergency services at bushfire locations.

“All of the indicators and information says this will be a significant summer,” said Norm Archer, NSW/ACT SAES Response Coordinator.

“Our teams are prepared and ready to escalate their involvement. We have been working alongside fire and emergency services as they prepare for the season.”

The SAES recently brought online two new large emergency catering units that are based in Sydney and Canberra, ready to be deployed across the state as needed.

“Our volunteer numbers have increased since the 2019-20 Black Summer season,” said Norm.

“We are very aware that communities this season will still be sensitive to recent history, and that’s where The Salvation Army as a whole – both from emergency services and the local mission level – can provide support and assistance to those people in affected communities.”

Training new SAES volunteers who have come on board since the 2019-20 bushfires has been a priority in preparation for this summer.


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