SES calls for new blood to bolster volunteer base

The Burdekin’s State Emergency Service (SES) is calling for new blood to bolster the ranks of its local volunteer base.

As the primary responder for storm, flood and cyclone events, the SES plays a vital role in the community – and it’s volunteers who make the service possible.

Local Area Controller SES Controller Robert Sutcliffe said as time went by many of their volunteers were finding age creeping up on them, but they were hoping to train up the new generation of young recruits to help carry the service into the future.

“I’ve been in the SES for just over 40 years and I’ve enjoyed every one of them,” he said.

“It’s going into a house after a storm event and putting a smile on the resident’s face and a bit of light in their day. It’s the relief on their face when they realise you’re there to help them, that’s what I like about it.”

Burdekin SES has several groups across the district such as Ayr and Home Hill, as well as Rita Island, Clare and Giru.

Mr Sutcliffe said the SES responded to floods, storms and cyclones and assisted with land searches, but the service also provided assistance to a range of community organisations and community events.

“It’s a lot more than just being there for people in cyclones,” he said.

“We man the gates at community events and assist with security.  We help not-for-profit organisations by combining a training activity in chainsaws with trimming trees on their land. The SES does quite a bit for the community.”

Volunteers receive regular training to be ready to respond when disaster strikes.

Mr Sutcliffe said Burdekin SES trains every Monday night to keep their skills current. “We make it as interesting as we can. We’re currently doing storm damage train and learning how to seal and protect homes from storms. We have five flood boats so we get out and do a bit of flood boat training.

“We need more volunteers including young people and people who aren’t afraid of heights.

“It’s a very rewarding service to get involved with.”

Residents interested in joining the SES are encouraged to attend the next weekly meeting of the Ayr SES Unit at 4 McCathie Street, Ayr, from 7pm Monday. Mr Sutcliffe said for young people wanting to get involved, the SES accepted 16 to 18 year olds provided they had written permission from parents or guardians.

For more information on the SES visit www.ses.qld.gov.au.

For further information please visit Council’s website www.burdekin.qld.gov.au or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

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