Here we are in the middle of the Festive Season – What a fantastic time of the year to be enjoyed by all.
As we think about what matters most to us; our families, our friends, our emergency service colleagues, the many supporters and the communities that we serve, many of us will also reflect on this past year. I look forward to the New Year with much optimism and in the full knowledge that 2015 will provide its own set of challenges, including preparation for what could be a busy year for all Volunteer and Staff emergency responders.
What makes this time of the year so special, is reflecting on what the communities do for preparation and protection of their way of life and assets. The Volunteers are the community and it is their spirit, their camaraderie, their dedication, that ensures the risks in their community are reduced and the general safety of all is the best possible, no matter which service they are in. It is also the Volunteer Emergency Service Responders families, friends and supporters that make it all possible by supporting them throughout the tough times of emergency events.
It has been very rewarding this year in attending a number of the end of year and award night functions where many Volunteers were rewarded for their hard work and dedication by their peers. Many of these also included the more awkward or embarrassing moments which bought much humour to the evenings proceedings.
I have also witnessed many Volunteers this year in the field doing what they are trained to do during a response. To see their training and practice assimilated into the field is very rewarding, especially when they achieve their objectives.
The Association worked closely with many of the DFES staff during the year for the betterment of the SES Volunteers and their role. The support by the DFES Commissioner in resolving a number of the challenges the SES Volunteers face, has been greatly appreciated and is assisting all of us to do our roles more effectively.
One of the biggest achievements this year has been a grant to purchase eight buses to be strategically placed for emergency response by the SES throughout the state. These commenced rollout on 3 December and the last metropolitan bus will be delivered before Christmas. The appreciation by the SES Units and Volunteers is being shown by emails and photographs being received by the Association. Already the buses have been deployed twice in bushfire support and the feedback from the firefighters has been very positive.
It is well documented in this state and country that we get emergency events happening at this time of the year. However even though the SES Volunteers traditionally take a break over Christmas, they have a high level of preparedness if an emergency event happens and networks in place to respond immediately. In closing, and on behalf of the SES Volunteers Association Committee, I would like to extend our best wishes for the festive season, to all the Volunteers and Staff involved in the emergency services, your families and many supporters and to thank you for your continuing support to your community.
Please have a safe and happy festive break.