SES volunteers (from left) Ken Hudson, John Ludlow, Stuart Ferguson, and Tania Pollard hope more volunteers will answer the call to join them.
SES volunteers (from left) Ken Hudson, John Ludlow, Stuart Ferguson, and Tania Pollard hope more volunteers will answer the call to join them. CATHY ADAMS

SES calls for more volunteers

WHAT does it take to help people rebuild their homes after violent storms, search for missing persons and rescue locals in floods and extreme weather?

According to Lismore SES unit controller Stuart Ferguson, it takes a person at least 18 years old with a bit of spare time.

The local Lismore SES unit will be looking for 10 new field crew members at their orientation day today, to join their volunteer force for operations in storms, floods, and emergency situations.

The State Emergency Service is a vital part of clean-ups and responses to emergency situations and often works hand-in-hand with the police in forensic and land searches.

Lismore SES unit controller Stuart Ferguson remembers two particular situations that reminded him why he was a volunteer.

“I helped in the clean up after the tornado that went through Dunoon a few years ago where there was a huge amount of damage in quite a small area.

“The tornado had ripped through the school where students had been only 25 minutes earlier.

“There is one time in particular, when we were putting a tarp on the roof of the St Andrews church in Lismore after a storm. We were up on a cherry picker to be able to tarp the huge area and it was such a unique situation that I would never have encountered without being in the SES.”

Many part-time workers make up the Lismore unit and the oldest member is 72-years-old.

“We have a lot of older people who have the time to commit to operations but attendance is open to men and women 18 years and over,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Volunteers need a reasonable level of fitness to be able to be in a field crew but we are still a volunteer organisation and if somebody feels incapable of doing a task then they have the option.

“Volunteers will get first aid training and a course induction.

Mr Ferguson is one of about 60 members in the SES Lismore unit and has volunteered for six years.

SES volunteers are required to train every Monday night and there is also a commitment to training on the weekends.

An introduction and orientation day is on today from 9am at the Lismore SES Unit office and potential volunteers are encouraged to call the duty officer on 0407 219 400.



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