The State Emergency Service (SES) will this year celebrate 60 years of providing essential support to the Western Australian community.
Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) will be commemorated on Wednesday 22 May to celebrate the wonderful contribution SES volunteers generously give to WA communities every single day of the year.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the bright orange uniform is a beacon of hope in the toughest of times for the community and the SES are often the first to offer their support to other emergency services.
“They are there when we need them the most during storm damage recovery, at searches and at vertical rescues but they are also ready to support their fellow volunteer services during any incident,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“The countless hours spent at incidents and honing their skillset in training exercises are invaluable and we are extremely grateful.
“On behalf of the community I extend my thanks to all SES volunteers, from our longest serving to the newest recruits, for their contribution over the last 60 years.”
Esperance volunteers Rick Holman and John Coates have each been in the SES for an extraordinary 45 years and shared what drives their desire to help the community.
For Rick, the opportunity to share the knowledge he’s acquired over the years with his fellow volunteers has been a privilege.
“The thing that I enjoy so much is coming down here, to the new people, where I can impart my knowledge and skills that I’ve learnt over the past 45 years, particularly the air observing skills,” Rick said.
John takes great pride in the Esperance unit and goes above and beyond when it comes to maintaining the facilities and equipment to the highest standard. His pride in the unit extends to the commitment shown by all volunteers no matter their length of service.
“We’ve been involved in it for 45 years while some have only been here 12 months but they’re still doing their job. They’re volunteering and they’ll be involved for many years and that’s the main thing,” John said.
“When I see State Emergency Service mentioned on the TV or anything like that I get a tingle because I’ve been involved for so many years and I think it’s great to see that recognition.”
At the newer end of the SES spectrum, Cassandra Innes is one of the most recent volunteers to sign up at the Two Rocks unit. She was an SES volunteer as a teenager with the Murray unit over a decade ago and wanted to join the service again close to home.
“I wanted to come back to volunteering with the SES because I missed it,” Cassandra said. “You meet lots of people, gain so much knowledge, there’s so much camaraderie and it’s about being in something bigger than yourself,” Cassandra said.
“I have two girls, I’m studying and I run my own business so the SES offers me a lot of flexibility.
“Family comes first and they’ve been really accommodating. When I wasn’t able to attend training because I had to take care of my daughters they actually worked around that and arranged it for another day so I could still complete it.”
The community is asked to wear orange on Wednesday 22 May to mark the occasion while landmarks in Perth will be lit up in orange including the Matagarup Bridge for the first time, the Bell Tower, Parliament House, Yagan Square and Perth Concert Hall.
The SES has nearly 2,000 members across 65 units supporting WA communities throughout the State. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the SES visit the emergency services volunteer recruitment website or contact your local SES unit.