Geoff Hames, Yeppoon SES volunteer
Geoff Hames, Yeppoon SES volunteer Sharyn Oneill

Consider joining SES

CONSIDER tracking for six days in a rainforest, surviving on rations or conducting first-aid and organising beach games at the Australia Day beach party.

That is all in the name of supporting the community for Geoff Hames, a Yeppoon State Emergency Service volunteer.

Geoff, whose day job is working with explosives in the mines, is one of the many SES volunteers who undergoes regular training to be able to complete search and rescue missions in times of need.

“It is fun hanging off a cliff on a rope,” Geoff said.

And while Tuesday’s Australia Day Beach Party isn’t expected to result in any extreme events, the volunteers will be there in force providing crowd support.

“Every year there is a search for a missing kid.”

Geoff joined the SES four years ago, just months before Cyclone Larry hit our coastline.

He was one of the many volunteers who joined the SES convoys who headed to the devastated region to help out, a big eye-opener to just how essential their work was.

“People were coming out of their homes saying thank you.”

Having learnt climbing and rope work, he spent three days up there tarping roofs in the rain.

“That was a bit of a rush really.”

Since then he has helped in other areas experiencing severe weather, such as Brisbane, Sydney, Ingham and Gosford, as well as locally in Yeppoon.

While Geoff might prefer the more extreme roles in the SES, there are plenty of jobs for people to do, from working in the kitchen to admin and radio, and they are always looking for more volunteers.

“If you don’t like heights, no problem, you can work on the ground.

“No matter what your skill is, it can be used.”

Current members are aged 17 to their 70s, and take part in a variety of courses from first-aid to traffic control, land and forensic searches and storm damage.

“It is a lot of hard work, but it is very rewarding, knowing you are helping.”

To join the Yeppoon SES or SES Cadets, contact acting group leader Julie Palmer on 0407 395 885 or head office on 1300 369 003.

“We are just everyday people doing extraordinary things.”

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