In the weeks following the June storms, hundreds of individuals volunteered to help under the banner of Help the Hills - Dandenong Ranges Taskforce.
The group was established by Emerald CFA volunteers and led by Emerald CFA captain Paul Yandle, who witnessed the extreme level of damage wrought across the hills after responding to CFA call-outs.
In the days that followed, Paul and his team of Emerald CFA volunteers set up a Facebook page and a registration process for volunteers to become involved with the clean-up.
“The response was nothing short of amazing,” said Paul.
“We had so many people who just came back weekend after weekend and we’re talking eight to 10 hours days using chainsaws and removing branches.”
“There was really good support from local machine operators with excavators and machinery and so many companies offered their time, fuel and equipment to help.”
“Of course, the Emerald and Civic Rotary was incredible assisting with insurance coverage for all our volunteers.”
By the time that the COVID Lockdown was announced in August which forced its disbandment, 250 volunteers had attended 125 properties and an estimated 3,500 hours were accrued to help those who couldn’t help themselves.