NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has launched a new recruitment campaign during National Volunteer Week, with its Hunter Capability Unit looking for new volunteers to join the team.

Some team members from the Hunter Capability Unit in Metford, Maitland.

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and runs from May 16 to May 22, including a day of recognition specifically for NSW SES volunteers, Wear Orange Wednesday, on May 18.

SES volunteers wear orange uniforms, making them easily recognisable when responding to storm and flood-related requests.

Blue uniforms are also worn and are often seen on volunteers who are busy behind the scenes in the Emergency Operations Centre managing the high-level coordination of natural disaster response.

Hunter Unit Commander, Mandy Bramble, said they were looking for volunteers who work well in a fast-paced environment, can follow orders, have good computer skills and have the ability to learn new computer programs.

“The Hunter Capability Unit is a specialised team of volunteers, trained and qualified to perform the roles in an Incident Management Team, a formal structure that operates under AIIMS – the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System.

“This nationally recognised system ensures all emergency response agencies function under the same structure in response to natural disasters.

“The structure includes roles in Planning, Public Information and Warnings as well as Operations and Logistics…we will provide training to ensure new members acquire the skills and qualifications for these roles.”

The Police Assistant Commissioner and his team dropped into the Metford Incident Control Centre in March to get an update regarding the flood situation in the Northern Zone.

Recent recruit, Rochele Birch, said she joined last year and volunteered during the February and March major flood events from the Central Coast to the Queensland border.

“While the shifts were long and at times stressful, it was a very rewarding experience to be able to help those so badly impacted by the unprecedented rainfall and subsequent flooding,” Birch said.  

“From the Operations Centre, we performed a vital role in managing the NSW SES response to thousands of flood-affected people across the Northern Zone.”

 “Volunteering brings people together and creates a better society for everyone… of course, it’s not for everyone, but if you are up for a challenge, I highly recommend applying to become a volunteer with the Hunter Capability Unit.”

The unit trains on the first and third Tuesday night of each month and some weekends at Metford, Maitland.

To request more information about the volunteer roles available and to register for an information session in June, please email hcu.ops@ses.nsw.gov.au

Hayley McMahon