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VICSES receives emergency response equipment from Yarra Valley Water

Yarra Valley Water has donated 26 silt bags, worth $1000, to the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Heidelberg Unit.

SES volunteers wearing bright orange and holding long black bags.

Yarra Valley Water Acting General Manager Distribution Services Kristen Knight said the utility was proud to support the local VICSES unit.

“As an organisation deeply rooted in the community, we understand the importance of supporting local emergency services. This donation will help the VICSES Heidelberg Unit in their efforts to keep our community safe during floods and other emergencies,” Ms Knight said. 

With Melbourne and its surrounding regions facing increased climate volatility, collaborative partnerships like these are essential to increase the resilience of communities. 

“When disasters strike, rapid response is vital,” Ms Knight said. 

“These simple yet effective bags filled with silt can provide much needed relief and stability in various emergency situations, particularly during extreme weather events,” she said. 

The VICSES Heidelberg Unit serves suburbs northeast of Melbourne's CBD in the Darebin, Banyule and City of Yarra local government areas. These are some of Melbourne’s fastest-growing areas, and with that comes a variety of emergencies and an ever-expanding community to keep safe. 

The unit has over 70 dedicated volunteers in its ranks. They often respond quick and at short notice, working tirelessly day and night, to keep the community safe.

Unlike traditional sandbags, silt bags are designed specifically to filter debris and sediment during flood events, playing a crucial role in flood control and mitigation efforts.

In response to the donation, VICSES Heidelberg Unit Deputy Controller, Shane Frost, said the bags will significantly enhance the unit’s flood preparedness and response capabilities. 

“We were out on a job, lugging these big sandbags, when we noticed Yarra Valley Water crews using the silt bags. We thought they were amazing. 

“They'll be especially useful for us in managing low-level water and preventing driveways from flooding. These bags are much more practical to use. While there will be occasions where we need sandbags as well, we're really grateful to have these as an option. They will definitely get a lot of use," Mr Frost said.