SES flies it colours for community on Wear Orange Day


Melville SES unit manager David Fyfe and team leader Anthony Richard. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d453613
Melville SES unit manager David Fyfe and team leader Anthony Richard. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d453613

MOUNTED horses, an all-terrain utility vehicle and a zip line at Murdoch University may have been a remarkable sight for passersby, but for the State Emergency Service it was all in a day’s work.

The training demonstration held on campus last Wednesday highlighted Wear Orange Wednesday, the SES’s contribution to National Volunteer Week.

SES units from areas such as Armadale, Canning and Gosnells joined to test their skills at rescuing a “casualty” – one of their own who was told to hide in the university.

The mounted section discovered the team member, who was retrieved by an all-terrain vehicle and then zip lined to safety at another location.

Melville SES team leader Anthony Richards said the morning was a great success.

The units’ skills enabled them to combine seamlessly for the rescue.

Mr Richards has been with his unit for 11 years, attending training every Tuesday along with at least 25 to 30 of their 50 active members each week.

He is a vertical rescue team leader but said the skills learnt in that area were transferrable to other jobs roles the SES might be called out to, such as storm rescues.

SES members are typically called out to storm rescues and car versus house scenarios in the metropolitan area, which Mr Richards said was happening “more and more”.

“We’ll all be called out to make a house safe,” he said.

Each member has to have a few months of training before attending an incident.

Mr Richards said the more effort put in, the quicker the volunteers could assist.

“SES members will get out what they put in,” he said.

“They’ll find they become a valued team member very quickly.”

Mr Richards said he joined the SES when he was looking for something extra to fill his spare time.

“I was looking for something to do in my personal life to give me that sense of satisfaction,” he said.

The broad age spectrum of volunteers was a bonus for Mr Richards, with the varied schedules of each age group allowing more assistance throughout the community at any time.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said Wear Orange Wednesday was an opportunity for people to honour the hard work and dedication of emergency service volunteers.

“As winter approaches, we will start seeing storms that can cause major damage,” he said.

“The community can be confident the SES will be there when there’s a call for help.”