Remembering Black Saturday
Black Saturday was one of the worst bushfire disasters in Australian history, with 173 Victorians losing their life across over 400 individual fires.
Then a junior nurse, Emma Saddington remembers very clearly working on the burns unit during that time.
"Working the morning shift on 7 February, 2009, there was this heightened angst around what the day may bring in the air, you could just feel it," says Emma.
"When I came into work the next day it was like a disaster zone."
Emma was one of hundreds of Alfred Health team members who played a vital role in caring for Black Saturday burns victims.
"I still remember the smell of bushfire in the air outside and so clearly around the ward, imbedded in patient belongings and still present when they were discharged home weeks and months later."
Events, like Black Saturday, have shaped the fabric of The Alfred over the last 150 years and are important to reflect upon as we continue to support Victorians through difficult times.
Thirteen years on, Emma reflects on the galvanising impact the tragedy had on our health service and community.
"Working together through the enormity of what was happening, to care for communities that had been utterly devastated - that will stay with me forever."
"I'll never forget that sense of belonging, being part of a team, and that powerful feeling of standing beside the wider community during such a horrific time."