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Farmer donates fuel to keep hospital and nurses running during a freak weather event

Laura Meachim, Thursday April 5, 2018 - 20:35 EST

A Western Australian farmer is being praised for his efforts in keeping a small town's hospital running following a power loss during a freak storm over the Easter weekend.

Geoff Waters, 66, has lived in Kununoppin, 260 kilometres north-east of Perth, his whole life.

When the hospital's emergency generator ran out of fuel on the weekend during a 48-hour power-cut, Mr Waters was the first to put his hand up to donate nearly 600 litres of diesel.

Mr Waters said he helped out because that was what people in the country did.

"I work on the theory that if we cannot help one another it is a waste of time being out here," he said.

Not only did Mr Waters keep the generator running, he also filled up two of the nurses' cars with fuel to make sure they could get home and back the next day for their shifts.

"It is something I like doing for the community, helping people out," he said.

"I just hope sometime when my family need those services, they are there for them."

Health emergency

The powerful Good Friday storm brought wind gusts of up to 113 kilometres per hour, causing 5,000 homes and businesses in the region to lose power.

Kununoppin clinical nurse Nerida Woodfield said without Mr Waters' help, they may have had to move their eight patients to other health facilities.

She said medications and vaccines that needed to be refrigerated would have also gone off.

"There's a lot of medication that needs to be kept at a certain temperature," she said.

"If we were unable to do that they can be kept in eskies with ice bricks and monitoring for a certain amount of time."

A helping hand

Ms Woodfield said the whole Kununoppin community generally liked to help one another, but Mr Waters was always the first to put his hand up.

"He is reliable, you know he is there as a backup," she said.

"If one of the nurses has a flat tyre we always know who to call — it's Geoff."

He also volunteers for the local St John Ambulance, transporting patients across the Wheatbelt.

Ms Woodfield said they were very grateful for his work, especially given he had his own farm to look after.

"He came and rechecked on us between moving sheep," she said.

"And then he was at the door asking whether he needed to refill the generator the next day."


© ABC 2018

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