Victorian State Emergency Services Ararat Unit members Geoff and Donna Dunmore have returned from Gippsland, where they helped in the emergency efforts during the recent flooding.
On Thursday, June 10, Gippsland endured severe rainfall, overflowing rivers and leaving many residents trapped in cars and houses.
The Dunmore's primarily worked as part of a boat crew that included Stawell SES member Brody Stewart. Their primary task was rescuing people who were stranded by the floodwaters.
The group was based in Sale but on Thursday morning was sent to Traralgon as Traralgon Creek flooded and the situation escalated.
"The arterial roads within Traralgon were basically cut off with vehicles. It was gridlocked everywhere because they had all been trying to get to work and there was just nowhere to go," Geoff Dunmore said.
"Our first actual rescue was that we did was when we were trying to work our way through some back streets and we were stopped by some people who told us there a house on the other side of the railway line that two people were trapped in.
"We deployed two rescue boats into the creek and got the two people out of there. We basically just packed our gear up and they told us that creek that we'd rescued those people at had been badly flooded and there were numerous people ringing the SES flood number and triple zero wanting to be rescued."
"We rescued about 20 or 25 people. It was pretty hard yakka for the day."
Mr Dunmore has been an SES member for about 25 years and has volunteered for several similar deployments during that time, as has Donna Dunmore.
"We thought 'let's put our hand up and go,' because it's been a while since we had been to anything like that with the service and we thought it was probably time to put our hands up and help the community," he said.
Mr Dunmore said the flooding had highlighted the importance of people taking the appropriate precautions during such incidents.
"It's the old advice with floods: don't walk or drive through waters. You don't realise what's under the water," he said.
"People don't realise how a small amount of water can stop their car, and then they can get stranded in their car and as the water rises they've just got nowhere to go."
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