Broadspectrum supports Operation Bushfire Assist
Since 20 December 2019, Broadspectrum has provided significant operational support to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with the ongoing bushfire crisis.
Broadspectrum’s response to Operation Bushfire Assist has involved an operational surge of unprecedented scale. To date, 34 fire vehicles have been deployed across 351 firefighting shifts. We’ve supplied almost 2.5 million litres of aviation fuel to the ADF – enough to fill an Olympic-size pool.
Broadspectrum’s frontline response has been bolstered by teams working around the clock. Our catering teams have prepared 123,800 meals – the equivalent of 24 kilometres of dinner plates stacked side-by-side. An additional 17,000 people have been accommodated on Defence bases, including displaced Defence families, evacuees, emergency services, even pets. During the height of activity, mattresses and swags were placed on every available floor space, and tents were pitched on ovals. Overall, our hospitality teams have changed more than 50,000 bed sheets.
RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria
As the bushfire crisis occurred during Defence’s Reduced Activity Period, many Broadspectrum employees were recalled from Christmas leave to assist with Operation Bushfire Assist. These employees willingly returned to work even though their own homes and communities were under threat.
Victorian Regional Catering Manager, Jenny Gigliotti, and her team put in a significant effort to contact suppliers, who were closed for Christmas, so they could order food supplies. The local Coles supermarket opened to bake bread so the catering team could prepare 1,000 sandwiches for a ship of evacuees that was expected at RAAF Base East Sale the following day.
When the evacuees arrived, Jenny became emotional. “As the evacuees came off and walked towards us, we could smell them before we could actually approach them,” Jenny said. “To hand over a lunch pack, was the least we could do. I was really moved.”
HMAS Albatross, New South Wales
One of the most significant fires threatened HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales, on New Year’s Eve. When the fire activity rapidly escalated, putting the naval base in direct danger, Broadspectrum firefighters were quick to respond.
Leading Firefighter at HMAS Albatross Gary Gilbert said, “I noticed a large cloud of smoke formation rising close to the base, so we responded in the Panther. We found the fire had jumped the containment line and, with the prevailing winds, was blowing near the Aviation Technology Park.”
Broadspectrum firefighters were able to suppress the fire in time, assisted by the capabilities of the Panther fire vehicle. The Base was saved from further damage and, since then, the team’s efforts have been recognised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison; Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley; Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan; Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Don Dezentje; and Defence Minister, The Hon Linda Reynolds.
The bushfire crisis is ongoing in parts of the country, and many Broadspectrum teams are still in full surge mode or in a state of readiness, as the Australian bushfire season continues through to March.
We are so very proud of all our teams and thank all those supporting Operation Bushfire Assist for their courage.