A Sutherland Shire SES flood rescue team helped evacuate 25 dogs and four people from a breeding kennel during this week's crisis in north-western Sydney.
It was one of many evacuations of people and domesticated animals carried out by more than 40 volunteers from the four shire SES units - Sutherland, Cronulla, Heathcote and Menai.
Their focus then turned to supplying food, water and other essentials to isolated communities along the river systems, as well as making damage assessments.
The dog rescue occurred in Londonderry on Monday at a breeding kennel that was cut off by rapidly rising floodwater.
A team of four volunteers from Sutherland and Cronulla Units were part of the rescue operation, which also included crews from Penrith SES and Londonderry RFS.
The kennels, housing Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, were partially submerged when the rescue teams arrived.
Each dog was placed in a separate animal carrier, which was loaded onto a boat.
Due to the number of dogs, the crews had to lash rescue rafts to either side of the flood boat to transport them out.
Several trips were made across the floodwaters during the operation, which took almost four hours.
Inspector Sam Corby, the deputy local commander of the shire SES cluster, said the specialist capabilities of their volunteers involved in the various operations during the week included:
"All three flood rescue boats from the shire took part, including the J3, which is 7.3 metres long and the largest flood boat in the NSW SES's fleet and designed for this sort of large-scale riverine flooding," he said.
"This was the first operational deployment of this vessel since it completed a major six figure refit last year to instal new engines, electronics, sonar and LED lighting.
"With the floodwaters starting to recede, crews are now beginning to commence damage assessments as we transition to recovery.
"This involves specially trained volunteers visiting impacted properties and using an iPad application to gather information and photos to record how high the floodwaters reached, what damage has been sustained to the property etc.
"This information can both be used for immediate recovery needs and also to support planning for future flood emergencies in these areas."
Inspector Corby said, as well as deploying to the floods, storm damage crews were deployed to Chester Hill last weekend to support the response to a tornado emergency, with crews assisting in the removal of fallen trees and conducting temporary repairs to damaged roofs.
"Back in the shire, we also responded to over 100 calls for assistance," he said.
"They ranged from roads being blocked, property damage and rescue activations at Audley Weir, where a car was stuck in floodwater, and Gymea Bay, where a tree came down on a house.
"In both those cases, the individuals trapped were able to self-extricate prior to the arrival of emergency services."
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