'We're planning for the scenario the device will go off'
EMERGENCY crews are preparing for a tough task this afternoon -- disabling a suspected improvised explosive device in the centre of a busy village.
Captain Josh Rushton from Mullumbimby Fire and Rescue NSW said it was their job is to make everything ready and be prepared "in the event that it would detonate".
"We're ready to go," he said.
"If you look over here you'll see... multiple BA crews, rapid intervention teams, gas monitors, thermal imaging cameras, it's all there ready to go.
"Teams are already allocated, they're standing here ready, the whole system's ready for the moment it either did detonate, or the police say, 'we require you'.
"It's different from going to a normal fire where it's a fire and rescue incident and not so much a police incident.
"When you have a bomb threat, threat of terrorism, threat of whatever -- and I'm not linking those two together here -- then, this is a police matter and we are a resource.
"But we're there for after the event, we're there for once it has done what it was going to do.
"It depends what it's reacting with and depends what detonated it."
Mr Rushton said there were some concerns about chemicals in a nearby pool shop.
"Obviously, chlorine and also hydrochloric acid we're interested in, which would be in that pool shop which is completely normal, so that's the pre-planning phase," he said.
"What you heard is a briefing on 'if this happens, what's our plan'.
"You can see that over there at that team, so we delegated out and we go, okay, what's the standard operating procedure for that? What are we going to do if it's on fire? Well it won't be on fire.
"What are we going to do if it's leaking? What are we going to do if we need to rescue someone? And they will feed into the next briefing.
"Basically because we've got time, the expectation in Fire & Rescue is whatever can be prepared, and whatever resources need to be brought on team, are done now.
"We're planning for the scenario that the device will go off; we're planning for the scenario that it will affect the pool and hire shop behind it; we are planning for the scenario that there could be damage to the Commonwealth Bank and whatever resources they've got in there as well.
"You'll see me walking back and forth... that's me updating going, this is here, or updating with information like, okay, so, this is stuff that's inside this shop, this is the plan when that happens.
"If something did happen, he's going to walk across the road and stand at his control point and at some point, he'll turn around and go, 'now'.
"We've already looked at the layout, we've looked at the wind direction, that's all part of the briefing so that if a rapid response is quickly needed.
"What's interesting, I suppose, to think of is that from the public's perspective, people will accept that if some person has put a device there and it has done some damage, they will accept the fact that, okay, that happened.
"What they won't accept is if someone gets hurt or killed.
"That's why all of this, that's why it all gets cordoned off, everyone's actually really calm, it's going to be dealt with, but, if something did happen and someone did get hurt, public expectation will be, well, how did that happen?"