Evacuation 'messy' during deadly Tasmania floods
The evacuation of a Tasmanian town during devastating flooding was messy and rushed because of a lack of preparation, a State Emergency Service operations manager has told an inquest.
Latrobe in the state's northwest was caught up in the June 2016 floods that killed three people and damaged some 130 properties.
An inquest is examining the death of Mary Allford, 75, who was trapped in her Latrobe home by rising waters.
Gerald van Rongen, who is based in the state's north, said he was called to work by the SES on the evening of June 5 and told he would be an operations manager in the northwest.
Mr van Rongen said he spoke with SES regional manager Wayne Richards that night.
"I specifically asked for flood layers, as in mapping layers. I asked for an evacuation plan," he said.
"I said 'have you got a set of triggers and consequences?'. Often you might not have a formal plan in place but, you know, (have) three or four triggers you might have to act on and he said 'there's nothing'."
Mr van Rongen said he effected an evacuation in Latrobe about 1am after people above him didn't act.
"Basically I got to a point where I didn't care what superior people above me were saying because I knew what needed to be done and there were human lives at risk," he said.
"Making that decision was more important than keeping my job."
Mr van Rongen, who first volunteered with the SES in 1999 and has been on staff since 2007, said the evacuation was messy and rushed.
"I've been involved in evacuations of 4000 people. We'll record it ... we'll say who goes to that address, what advice is given," he said.
"In the northwest they just weren't set up, prepared for it. We didn't have areas.
"In Launceston and Longford we've got predetermined areas, evacuation zones, we know who to doorknock.
"We didn't have any of that in Latrobe. We winged it. We did the best we could."
The inquest is expected to continue until March 14.
A separate inquest will deliver findings in relation to the deaths of newspaper delivery driver Peter John Watson at Evandale and Ouse farmer Trevor Foster, whose body wasn't found until two years after the floods.