Wear Orange Wednesday highlights selfless work of SES

Melville SES unit manager David Fyfe and team leader Anthony Richard. Picture: Matt Jelonek   d453613
Melville SES unit manager David Fyfe and team leader Anthony Richard. Picture: Matt Jelonek 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 Melville State Emergency Service (SES) unit, it was all in a day’s work.

The training demonstration held on campus yesterday highlighted Wear Orange Wednesday, SES’s contribution to National Volunteer Week, celebrating their teams.

From 8.30am, various units from around the area 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, where she 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 skills the units had exhibited allowing them to combine seamlessly to conduct 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.

Also a vertical rescue team leader, he said the skills learnt in the unique area are transferrable to other roles the SES might experience, such as in storm rescues.

It is storm rescues and car versus house scenarios that the team are called out to typically in the metropolitan area, with Mr Richards saying it is 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, with Mr Richards saying the more effort put in, the quicker the volunteers can 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 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.

He believed other volunteers felt the same, the diverse age range of the group sharing a similar will to assist the community.

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.”