The Dubbo community got a taste of life in the State Emergency Services on Sunday.
The Dubbo SES Unit, as well as others across the region, held an Open Day to show the community the facility, and demonstrate the skills held by the volunteers.
The SES is the lead combat agency for flood, storms and tsunami in NSW. The organisation also assists when vehicles are stuck in flood waters. Dubbo SES Unit deputy local controller Steve Evans said the most frequent call out was to bring down dangerous trees.
Local controller Fiona Douglas said the Open Day was also a chance for the unit to attract more volunteers.
“We have 25 volunteers but we always need more. During the week there are always people who are at work, so more shift workers would be great,” she said.
The SES was moving towards a flexible volunteering model, Ms Douglas said, which would see people utilise their skills without having to be trained across all aspects of the organisation.
“If you’ve got a particular skillset, like you don’t want to use a chainsaw but you’re great at admin, or on the other hand if you don’t want to do admin but you want to work with the chainsaw, you can just do that,” she said.
The Dubbo Unit works closely with others in the region, from Lightning Ridge to Mudgee. A team is sent out to other regions whenever they’re needed, Mr Evans said, such as the recent storm in Mudgee where there were more than 100 call outs.
We have 25 volunteers but we always need more. During the week there are always people who are at work, so more shift workers would be great.
Last month, Dubbo MP Troy Grant announced $1.5 million for the SES to build a new headquarters.
NSW SES region controller David Monk said a new facility would be a welcome boost and would assist in recruiting new volunteers.
The possibility of the Volunteer Rescue Association and the SES sharing a facility was floated. Mr Monk said it could be a viable option.
“It does make sense. There is cost savings for the government which will enhance the capability of both agencies. They work in different spheres but at the end of the day they are all volunteers providing emergency services to the community,” he said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can head to www.ses.nsw.gov.au.