I have been an active, operational member with Sturt SES since mid 2016. I'd always wanted to join the emergency services but life constantly seemed to be busy enough with work, church, sport, family, travel and other commitments. But whilst I was cycle touring overseas for a year or so, I decided that on my return home to Adelaide, I would join the SES and stop putting it off, because let’s face it, life would always be hectic.
The technical rescue aspect with the opportunity to learn specialist skills is what originally attracted me to the SES, as well as the ability to assist people in times of need and give something back to the community.
When I first attended the unit, I was warmly welcomed and given lots of support, guidance and opportunities, which really made me feel included and part of the team straight away. Sturt SES really strives to encourage new recruits, and help them find their speciality spot or role that is best suited to them and their availability.
The roles at Sturt SES vary every week, every day and even every hour. One moment you might be protecting homes from floods or clearing fallen trees, the next callout could be responding to a rescue from heights, helping find a missing person in the scrub, or even repairing damage caused by a car impacting a structure. You never know what to expect when the pager goes off. The unit also holds weekly training to maintain operational readiness and up-skill crews' knowledge and rescue abilities.
My first major storm event was a very interesting time and quite a highlight as a new SES recruit. I learnt extremely quickly due to the large amount of jobs we were called to. Three days turned into a blur of sandbagging overflowing rivers, repairing destroyed roofs, clearing endless trees blocking roads and trying to fix whatever else was thrown at us. I was completely knackered by the end of it all but really enjoyed learning new skills, helping people out and experiencing the emergency services working together to minimise potential risks and damage caused.
I highly recommend joining up and seeing what it is all about. There are roles to suit everyone, whether you choose to take an active "on road" responder role, want to help in communications at LHQ, maintaining the fleet and equipment or possibly be involved in public relations, fundraising, community events and unit management. There is something for everybody and you really get a lot out of volunteering. I've loved my time so far and I'm looking forward to serving for many years to come.
I decided to join Sturt SES in late 2016 and the first night I came into the unit was during one of the information nights when there was a state-wide blackout. I got to see the whole unit operating in full swing. I first heard about the SES from my parents who met in the service many years ago, so I guess you could say I am a product of the SES. I decided to join because I wanted to learn new skills and to help establish stability in my life while building on my self-development.
When I first started basic training, I was very nervous trying to learn all these new skills such as learning to tie knots, and other basic skills that are utilised during the majority of callouts. However, the team was very patient and understanding, often repeating "If you can't tie knots, tie knots lots," to help encourage the members so they can remember their knots.
One thing about the Sturt unit is they are always encouraging members to try all different aspects of SES including callouts, administration, training, and anything and everything else, with a simple 'everyone gets a turn' mentality. I have personally experienced this by assisting with shoring at a building impact doing everything from cribbing to helping get the shore in place.
The leadership at Sturt have supported me and are assisting me to develop my leadership skills. They were very open to the idea of teaching me now so when the time comes where I am the most senior member attending a callout, I will feel comfortable leading a crew to help those in times of need.
I encourage anyone who is interested in the SES or any of the emergency services to contact the unit and drop in on one of our training nights to look around. You might find something that will spark a passion for the emergency services just like it has done for me.
I wanted to share with you a personal achievement which I am very excited about. Just after 9pm Thursday night (15/7/21) I attended my first incident with Sturt SES which was a tree down over the road.
Within minutes the expert team I was with had it cleared, and we were on the road to our next incident. Over the course of the night and morning I attended incidents involving, trees down across roads and driveways, water coming in from the ceiling into a house and even a carport that collapsed on-top of 2 cars.
At every incident I was surrounded by skilled and experienced Sturt SES crew who took the time to look after a newbie like me and help me learn. There are too many people to thank individually so I just wanted to say thank you to everyone at Sturt SES for being so welcoming and patient with me.
I am looking forward to working with you all again in the future.