Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published August 25th 2012
Give something back to your community this weekend
Instead of heading out for your usual weekend, just have a think about giving something back to the community that has given you so much. I'm talking about joining the State Emergency Service (SES). No matter where you are in Australia, the SES are around, ready and willing to help in your time of greatest need.
By its own accord, 'The SES is a volunteer based organisation that is designed to empower people to help themselves and others in their community in times of emergency and disaster.' Each state and territory has its own SES available for you to join up.
They perform rescues and similar operations in emergency situations, conduct searches for missing people, help the injured and protect persons or property from damage. We see them in the newspaper all the time – they're the orange brigade. Locally the SES branches hold weekly training sessions – so you're not just sitting on your backside waiting for things to go bad. They keep you skilled and trained, you'll never head into a situation without having the proper knowledge and skill to accomplish it.
Don't worry, you're not going to be sitting around all the time.
Volunteering gives you a great sense of community spirit and fills up your karma-bar. How good would it feel that when people were in times of need, you were there to help? Think of some of our nation's greatest natural disasters: bush fires, floods, and cyclones. The SES were there and we wouldn't be here today without them.
Don't just think you can sign up and start straight away. It takes a lot to be an SES volunteer. Don't just think as soon as you put your hand up you get to wear the uniform. Training can take a while – but it will be worth it. Basic stuff includes first aid, map reading, vehicle and equipment operation. But once you complete your probation period (which could take a few months), consider upskilling and focusing on a specific area such as agency support, flood response, traffic management, storm response and search. Each has their own unique set of skills that you can learn to better help out.
We need the SES in our greatest times of need
The SES is also a great way to make new friends. You'll set some great foundation work for true friendship with like-minded people. If you've got a competitive streak, then you may also be interested in the annual State Rescue Competition held by the SES. It's a great way to test your skills against other volunteers you've never had the pleasure of meeting.
The SES offers plenty for everyone. No matter where you are in Australia the SES is there, ready to help, and you can be part of it.