COMMANDING Australian Army special forces units was a small step to taking over as the NSW State Emergency Service's newly appointed director general, Brigadier Philip McNamara, said in Bathurst on Wednesday.
Brigadier McNamara likened the professionalism he's seen in a 35-year Army career to the highly regarded civilian troops that respond when emergencies arise in floods, storms and as support in fires.
There were undoubted similarities between the assets of the Army and those of the SES, Brigadier NcNamara said.
Both Army and SES were well organised to respond. They planned operations, were highly trained in a range of skill with dedicated people, large numbers of them volunteers.
"In the SES our volunteers are our very best assets," Brigadier McNamara said. "They have proved themselves because they train, plan and know the part they have to play. We're in good shape in the SES. We're ready."
Brigadier McNamara was only one day out of retirement as commander of the Australian Army's three special forces units, providing counter terrorist support for the Sydney Olympic Games, when he accepted the position of regional recovery co-ordinator for North Coast floods.
He held this position for 21-weeks co-ordinating the work of many agencies and councils involved in the recovery operation.
On completion of the operation Brigadier McNamara organised a North Coast regional flood debrief over two days in Grafton in late July.
Brigadier NcNamara said the flood event on the North Coast was typical of the responses of the SES, showing it had the capability in any emergency situation.
He viewed the operations from Coffs Harbour to better understand a major flood event on the Clarence, McLean and Bellingen River systems.
The SES learns from each event, just as the service gained experience from floods in Bathurst during 1986, 1990 and 1998.