When it’s all gone wrong, one of the most reassuring sights you can see is an army of volunteers, clad in hi-vis orange, charging in to fix what is broken, free what is trapped or find what is missing. If you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in an emergency, this is the crew that will keep you safe and get you operational again. They are the volunteers of the State Emergency Service.
NSW State Emergency Service (SES) is a state-wide emergency and rescue service dedicated to saving lives and protecting the community. This year Randwick City Council celebrates 60 years of partnership with the Randwick SES, based at Council's depot in Storey Street Maroubra.
“Council and SES have had a longstanding and incredibly valuable partnership,” says Deputy Unit Commander, Terry Papaioannou. “They provide us with a world class building, wifi, extra trucks and equipment when we need it. Council workers also fill sandbags for us and provide specialist help, such as tree expertise, all of which allows us to get on with the job of looking out for our community.”
SES volunteers come from all walks of life, bringing with them many different skills, interests and backgrounds. There are currently 100 volunteers in the Randwick crew, with 40 active at any given time. The local group has men and women from 20 to 70 years of age, who are all keen to meet new people, gain new skills and give back to their community.
“Volunteers have a can-do attitude, they think outside of the box, and are courteous and polite to members of the community as well as their fellow volunteers,” says Terry. “The rest is learnt through nationally accredited training courses and on-the-job skills.”
State-wide, SES volunteers are called upon to conduct missing person searches, extract people from cars involved in traffic accidents on country roads or perform cliff rescues. The crew can also be called out to perform flood rescues, remove trees blocking roads and fix property damaged by wild weather. All nationally accredited, SES volunteers receive training that gives them many of the same skills as police, Fire and Rescue and paramedics.
The day of this photo shoot, winds across Sydney reached up to 90km/hr and the crew knew that soon the calls would start rolling in. In just a few hours there would be local residents needing the help of the SES. There would be no quiet Friday night or weekend for these volunteers. They were ready to don helmets and hi-vis and face whatever the weather threw at them. For residents in need, they were a welcome sight indeed.
If you require assistance, call NSW SES on 132 500. If you’d like to join the Randwick SES visit the eVolunteers section of www.ses.nsw.gov.au. The unit also offers 2-3 information sessions throughout the year.Back to top