Queensland SES has around 5,500 members who provide a vital part of the state’s emergency response by assisting people during disasters and emergencies.
In the Bundaberg Region, Acting Deputy Local Controller Annette Farrar has been a volunteer with the SES since 2018 when she joined her local Elliott Heads branch.
Annette got involved as a way of giving something back to the community by volunteering her spare time.
“Often after an emergency, people are looking for someone to turn to and the SES fills that need,” she said.
“WOW Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of SES volunteers in their local communities.”
SES volunteers have weekly training, with members encouraged to attend regularly to keep their skills current.
Annette recently completed flood boat training, adding to the breadth of her skills and experience.
“I’ve learnt a lot of practical skills, working at heights, working on roofs, swift water rescue” she said.
Annette values the time she has spent with experienced members of SES, including her mentor, group leader Sharyn Kilby.
Sharyn’s wealth of experience in the SES is something money can’t buy,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter what’s happening, I can give her a call and she will put me on the right track.”
Joining Annette in the SES service for the past couple years have been her son, Cody Mather, and her other son’s girlfriend, Jasmin Roberts.
Cody joined SES two years ago at age 16, and has recently been appointed a heights operator, as well as completing Emergency Operations Centre training.
Jasmin recently returned to SES after the birth of her twins, having kept up her SES training throughout her pregnancy.
Annette said it was wonderful to see their confidence and skills grow while valuing their community.
“I’m really proud to have both Jasmin and Cody work alongside me in the SES,” she said.
Volunteering with the SES has exposed Annette to many experiences she hadn’t expected in everyday life.
“It can be challenging and rewarding,” she said.
“At the end of the day, I can say ‘wow I’ve achieved that’.”
There are seven active SES groups in the Bundaberg Local Government Area.
If you are interested in volunteering with the SES, contact them through the Bundaberg Regional SES Unit Facebook page. Wow Day is part of National Volunteer Week 15 – 21 May.