Black Saturday was of the size and magnitude to test the limits of a huge range of highly trained, experienced service providers – not only the obvious emergency response crews (including fire-fighters, DSE crews, National Parks personnel, Defence forces, Police and others); but also other providers such as kitchen suppliers. The call came at 9pm on Black Saturday to provide a kitchen to feed 200 people in Alexandra.
No-one anticipated the devastation, the enormous loss, the emotional and physical trauma that was unfolding. It didn’t take long to realise that this emergency was like no other. At the height of activity a typical day might include 1,400 hot breakfast, 1,500 lunch packs, 1,500 hot dinners, snack packs for fire crews working through the night, continuous tea and coffee – all delivered out of one kitchen.
Three more of our kitchens were deployed at other towns near the scene of the fires throughout the emergency – at Whittlesea, Healesville and Wesburn. Emergency service crews were very impressed by the ease of set-up and the range and volume of food that could be produced.