Team member Grace Gillies pictured, in black attire with Visionstream branding

Far away from Australia's bushfire zones, Ventia's Grace Gillies keeps a very close eye on the location and status of fires burning across the country.

Grace is part of our team at the Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Melbourne and has responsibility for communicating with and managing our technicians responding to major disruptions following bushfire (and other natural disaster) events. The NOC forms part of Ventia's telecommunications Essential Services business.

As bushfires burn across Australia, often they can damage vital communications networks. When this occurs it's up to our people on the ground to go in and restore the services as soon as it is safe to do so.

Ventia has an extensive field workforce, located right across Australia, ready to respond when a major disruption, such as a bushfire occurs.

It is the role of this workforce to attend telecommunications sites that have been damaged or taken offline as a result of fire, and to restore them.

Ensuring our people are dispatched to the most important or highest priority telecommunication sites, and that they can get there safely is the role of Grace and the rest of the team in the NOC.

"In the NOC we have live maps that we monitor which include all active fires, so we know where the danger areas are," Grace said.

At all times safety is our core focus.

Once the team knows the danger period has passed, it is then up to them to work with our client and emergency response coordinators and allocate Visionstream's technicians in the field to sites so they can get the communications networks back up and running.

"Once we know that a site is safe to attend, we allocate techs according to the equipment they need, and their particular skill set," Grace said.

"We will then assist them with getting to the site, including using journey management to ensure they arrive safely."

It might sound like intense work, and it is, but for Grace and the rest of the team it's a role she gets a lot out of.

"In the NOC when you have a major disruption event you will see a different energy. Everyone is so focused on the task at hand," she said.

We work really well together as a team which helps. We are like a little family.