A JAMBEROO resident who has played a key role in the Kiama municipality’s emergency management has stepped down from his long-time position, but will remain in the background in a support role.
Jamberoo’s John Alexander, 71, has resigned from the position of Kiama local emergency management officer (LEMO).
A report to the May council meeting acknowledged his extensive contribution to emergency management in Kiama and the Illawarra through this role and those previously held with emergency service agencies.
The council endorsed the appointment of Peter Luke to the position of local emergency management officer for Kiama, and Mr Alexander to the position of deputy officer.
The position is voluntary, and is appointed by council.
Mr Alexander has held the position of local emergency management officer for Kiama since 2003.
He was a member of the Jamberoo Brigade of the Rural Fire Service from 1962, with five years as fire control officer and 18 years of service with the Kiama Brigade of the SES, and six years as the local controller. Although no longer an active member, he is a life member of the Jamberoo brigade.
He was also formerly employed by council, as manager of their depot operations and emergency services. Mr Alexander worked for council for more than four decades, starting as an apprentice mechanic in 1958.
The council report said he was instrumental in drafting Kiama’s first Disaster Management Plan, and the Illawarra Local Emergency Management Committee’s first Disaster Management Plan.
Mr Alexander has performed the role of LEMO during several disasters in the region which involved the operation of the Emergency Operations Centre, including the 2013 tornadoes in Kiama.
‘‘When the tornadoes hit, I was in Bundeena National Park on one of our weekends away in our motor home,’’ he said.
‘‘I got the phone call, packed up and came back. ‘‘It’s more of a planning role, to make sure procedures are in place.
‘‘Our emergency operations centre has only been operational three times to my memory: the Olympic Torch relay in 2000, our support of the RFS in a fire at Albion Park/Macquarie Pass, and the tornadoes, which was the most significant operation of the operations centre.’’
Mr Alexander recently tendered his resignation due to travel plans.
He is currently holidaying in Queensland.
‘‘I stepped down in fairness to the organisation, as we were going away for about five months,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed the role.
‘‘I’ve stayed in the background as the alternate LEMO.
‘‘If there was some disaster of similar nature [to the tornadoes], I could get on a plane and be there to give them a hand.’’