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Making a world of difference
Monday 20 May 2019 – 9:35 AM

​National Volunteer Week runs from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 May and this year’s theme ‘Making a world of difference’ aptly describes the many dedicated emergency services volunteers across Western Australia (WA).

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM acknowledged the emergency services volunteers who actively support their communities on land and at sea, every day of the year.

“Our volunteers not only respond to emergencies but also dedicate their time to reducing the community’s risk through education and mitigation,” Commissioner Klemm said. “We cannot make WA a safer State without their valuable contribution. 

“Whether they are on the front line, provide administrative or auxillary support, or mentor new volunteers entering the service, they make a profound difference to the lives of all Western Australians.

“They are the backbone of emergency services in this State and do so much to protect their communities during times of crisis and I thank them for this dedication.

“Every time volunteers selflessly put on the uniform, their actions are for the good of the community. Sometimes their involvement can mean the difference between life and death and many owe their lives to these courageous men and women.” 

More than 26,000 emergency services volunteers proudly represent the Bush Fire Services (BFS), State Emergency Service (SES), Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services (VFES), Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS), Volunteer Marine Rescue Services (VMRS) and Emergency Services Cadet Corps throughout the State.

These services support DFES in providing the emergency response across WA, the largest emergency management jurisdiction in Australia. 

Volunteers are ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days of the year to deploy far and wide to protect the community across the 2.5 million square kilometres of land and 13,500 kilometres of coastline that make up this State.

Throughout National Volunteer Week DFES will share some of the many courageous stories from volunteers who have made a world of difference to the lives of people in the community while responding to incidents. Visit and like the DFES Facebook page to hear these incredible stories every day during Volunteer Week.

WA Volunteer of the Year

As part of the Volunteer Week celebrations, volunteers from across the State will be recognised on Wednesday 22 May at the WA Volunteer of the year Awards ceremony and emergency services personnel have been named as finalists in three of the categories.

Shirley Oliver has been a member of the Baldivis VFES for 30 years and is a finalist in the WA People’s Choice ‘Spirit of Volunteering’ Award. On top of responding to incidents, Shirley served as the Response Officer dispatching crews to emergency incidents and played a key role in the development of the Baldivis Incident Control Vehicle. She also displays strong enthusiasm in supporting her fellow volunteers to ensure the brigade is running to the highest capability. 

Finalists in the WA Excellence in Volunteer Management award include both Chris Stickland from Mandurah SES, and DFES District Officer and active volunteer Mike Teraci. Chris has been an instrumental member of Mandurah SES for more than 30 years and the Unit Manager since 2010, increasing membership numbers to make the unit one of the largest in the State. He is also active in training the local John Tonkin College Emergency Service Cadet Unit. Mike plays many roles, being both a District Officer and a Deputy Chief Bush Fire Control Officer for the City of Swan, as well as member of both East and West Swan BFBs.

Finally, Bankwest has also been named as a finalist in the WA Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award for their contribution as part of DFES’ Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) team. During larger scale incidents the VOST team are activated to assist in monitoring social and digital platforms to gather vital information that can be used to support the distribution of public information.