In times of crisis the region's SES volunteers are always on hand. New recruits are needed to maintain the high level of service we have come to expect.
In times of crisis the region's SES volunteers are always on hand. New recruits are needed to maintain the high level of service we have come to expect. Contributed

SES faces its own emergency

THE State Emergency Service urgently needs new members in parts of the Rockhampton region, says local controller Eddie Cowie.

As the organisation launches a recruitment drive in Queensland, Mr Cowie says it is vital that it attracts new blood.

“You don’t have to be super fit. You don’t have to be able to abseil down cliffs or cut people from crashed cars,” Mr Cowie said.

“If all you can offer is a bit of time to feed the troops then you will be very welcome.”

With more than 25 years’ SES service, Mr Cowie knows what he’s talking about.

“We have about 200 volunteers spread across 10 groups from Marlborough to Mount Morgan and we’re looking for recruits everywhere.

"It might sound a lot but there’s never more than a third of members available at any one time.

“So if you get an emergency at 5am on a weekday it can be a struggle to get a crew together.”

He said the team in Keppel Sands was the most depleted and needed eight new members urgently.

“The good thing is that anyone can make a contribution. We have a couple of doctors in the region, but we also have people who are unable to work because of injury but they have a strong commitment. Most people can offer something.”

Reluctant employers can be a barrier.

No company can dismiss an employee for being in one of the volunteer services, but Mr Cowie recognises that some can make it difficult for their staff.

“It’s a big ask, but a very rewarding one.”

A police officer and then an ambulanceman, Mr Cowie has spent a lifetime serving the community.

“For me it’s a need to support and offer something back, but I have also loved the friendship and networking opportunities membership has brought my way,” he said.

During last summer’s natural disasters the SES responded to 15,000 emergency calls across Queensland. More than 6800 citizens donned the famous orange overalls and went to the aid of their neighbours.

Volunteers can be involved in assisting police to search for missing people, providing traffic control, operating flood boats, doing temporary repairs to houses damaged by storms and removing fallen trees.

Training is provided in first aid, map-reading, various search-and-rescue techniques, leadership and team-building.

To learn more, or to request an information pack, call Emergency Management Queensland on 4938 4999.



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