WE NEED YOUR HELP
Queensland SES helps our communities by responding to emergency situations. Now is your chance to help out, learn new skills and make life-long friendships.
NORTH Burnett SES held a recruitment drive at Monto on Saturday to drum up volunteers for the organisation.
At the time of the drive, Monto’s SES was in dire straits, with only four regular volunteers on hand.
Since then, two more have put their names down, which came as good news for group leader Roslyn Griffith.
“I was seriously thinking about quitting because I’m getting too old to do the physically strenuous activity and we just didn’t have anyone else,” Mrs Griffith said.
Four is the bare minimum an SES group needs to operate, but specialist tasks are also required, such as chainsaw operators, people to work from heights and rescue boat drivers.
Councillor Paul Lobegeier said complacency was becoming a problem.
It’s good for young people to be part of a volunteer group; it helps them to work as a team and learn new skills. — SES local controller Brian Lowe
“The number of SES in Monto has declined rapidly and there’s probably several reasons for that,” Cr Lobegeier said.
“SES is asked to do many duties which the community don’t always realise.”
Things aren’t as bad throughout the rest of the region, though numbers could always improve.
North Burnett SES local controller Brian Lowe said it was important to have reserves on hand because there was no pressure for people to attend every incident.
“During a working week it’s harder to get people to come out, so the more the better,” Mr Lowe said.
“Nobody has to explain why they’re not available because we’re a volunteer organisation.”
Mr Lowe said that while there was a place for anyone in SES, they were particularly hoping to get more young people involved.
“It’s good for young people to be part of a volunteer group; it helps them to work as a team and learn new skills,” he said.
“We’ll find something for anyone to do; people who are incapacitated can use radios, people who are out on activation can be at the kitchen making up sandwiches to send out.”
In the past, people have left the SES due to being unable to dedicate time to the regular training requirements.
Efforts have been made to change that, with more upkeep training being achievable with home interactive DVD courses.
Meanwhile, Mr Lowe said he wanted to work physical training into the group meetings by putting on games and challenges.
“When we have exercises, we do things like Map Snap where two of us go out in the middle of never-never and we give the co-ordinates to the rest of the teams and they have to find us,” he said.
“We do rescue boat exercises where we go out to one of the dams and hide things for people to go out and find.”
Mrs Griffith said this way of doing training made it more fun and solved the issue of people being unable to commit to SES.
If you can volunteer email Brian Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELPINGG OU OUT: G Gayndahdh group ld leader Brendend H Harrisi and dd deputy J Julianli Nott workk to tarp a lk leaky roof.f
UNSUNG HEROES: Representatives from North Burnett SES gathered in Monto to raise awareness of the need for more volunteers.
Monto SES leader Ros Griffith says the branch needs volunteers in order to survive.
Brenden Harris and Julian Nott from Gayndah and Rob Morton from Mundubbera were called out to Gin Gin as they did not have any Working with Heights volunteers.