SES Flag Protocol

Need to change
As a result of the change from Authority (FESA) to Department (DFES) in November 2012, has necessitated a change of the SES flag.  The SESVA has initiated this to ensure currency of our SES flag.
The Current Flag History
It was Volunteer Day in Kings Park Western Australia; December 5 2001 (IYV2001) when a group of SES volunteer's discussed the need for a unique SES flag design.  An orange flag that symbolises our well-known PPE overall colour with our traditional SES logo in the middle was added to a Battenberg styled chequered pattern on the left.

The original flag was agreed upon by SES Consultative Committee and the SESVA. FESA and the SESVA shared the costs of production to ensure each unit was supplied a high quality flag. With the development of Department of Fire Emergency services, the flag has been changed by removing the FESA logo and enlarging the traditional SES logo. This put into production, so that flags could be available for ANZAC day 2013.
Flag Details
Flag details (Vexalogical) information is as follows:

  • The flag is of traditional 2:1 proportions;
  • The flag in some documentation maybe referred as the “house” or “civil” flag;
  • The Battenberg styled chequered pattern occupies 1/5 of the left side, or hoist edge;
  • The chequered portion on the leading edge is symbolic of an emergency service, in particular the orange and white for SES in Australia The SES logo is placed centrally in remainder (field or ground) of the flag;
  • The colour orange is emblematic of courage (PMS165).

 Dignity of the SES Flag
As the flag is representing our well regarded organisation, the SES flag should be treated with the same respect and dignity as our National and State flags as it is the foremost symbol of the West Australian SES.  The flag should not be allowed to fall or lie on the ground. In veiling ceremonies’, the flag should not be used to cover a statue, monuments or plaque. The flag should not be used to mask boxes, barriers or the space between the floor and ground level of a Dias or platform.  The flag should not be flown in a faded of dilapidated state. If a flag reaches this state, then it should be replaced with the old flag destroyed privately in a dignified manner.  It should not be defaced, modified or treated in a manner to discredit the State Emergency Service.
Flag Protocols
The use of the flag should be in line with Australian National and State flag protocols.
When Flying and Handling the SES flag, the following should apply:

  • The universal custom of flying the national and state flag only from sunrise to sunset should also apply to the SES flag. The flag should only at night when illuminated;
  • Flown aloft and free of obstruction as close as possible to the top of flag mast, with rope tightly secured;
  • The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously;
  • When the flag is flown with national and state flags, the SES flag should not exceed the size of national and state flags. The national flag should always be raised first and lowered last, unless multiple attendants allow all flags to raised and lowered  at the same time;
  • One flag per flag pole except where a flagpole provides a cross arms and mast head. In this case the national flag is to be flown on the masthead, state flag on the left halyard (yardarm) and the SES flag on the right halyard (yardarm). Left and right is determined by the observer facing the building or establishment which the flagpole/s is placed in front of;
  • Two flagpoles, the Australian national flag is placed left (position of honour), the SES flag on the right;
  • The flag should not be flown upside down even as a signal of distress.

 When Carrying a flag in Procession the following should apply:

  • The national flag should be the lead flag in a single file, the state flag and then the SES flag will then follow;
  • In line abreast, the national flag on left (when looking at flag bearers), the state flag and then the SES flag will then follow;
  • When the flag is being raised, lowered or carried in a parade or review, all present should face the flag and remain silent;

When Flying a Flag at Half Mast, the following should apply:

  • Usually flags should be flown with their top corners hard to the top of the flagstaff. However on occasions, flags are flown at half mast position as a sign or mourning. On such occasions a directive is usually issued by the authorities;
  • The flag should be brought to the half mast position first by raising it to the top of the mast and then immediately lowering it to about one third of the distance down from the top of the flagpole. It should be raised again to the top before being lowered ceremoniously for the day;
  • National/State flags are officially flown at half mast on accessions of death of the Sovereign, death of a member of Royal Family, Prime Minister, former Prime Minister, Governor General or former Governor General, head of foreign state or distinguished Australian citizen on the day of the funeral.
  • When the SES flag is flown at half mast for a SES person, the Australian flag should remain at full-mast;
  • A flag should not be flown at half mast at night whether or not the flag is illuminated.

 Other protocols that should be followed include:

  • If used on a casket, the top left (first quarter / upper hoist / canton) of the flag is to be placed over the left shoulder of the body. Do not lower the flag into the grave;
  • The flag should always be used in a dignified manner and be reproduced completely and accurately;
  • The flag should not be defaced by over printing with words or illustration;
  • The flag should not be covered by other objects in displays;
  • All symbolic parts of the flag should be identifiable.

 Additional considerations when flying flags in association of other DFES services. The following should be followed:

  • The SES flag is no lesser a flag than any of the other services; however precedence should be given in accordance Australian national flag protocol.
  • Basically, a heralded flag is one that has had approval to use (copy) portions of national/state flag in its design, such as the use of Union Jack. An example of precedence is - National flag, the State flag, any Heralded* flag and then the SES flag.
  • The protocols of flying a flag should comply with Australian National Flag protocols-
  • If the SES flag is to flown the company of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Island flag, then Australian national flag protocol is to apply;
  • An acceptable precedence for DFES emergency service divisions flags, that has been used in the past, is National flag, the State flag, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Island flag, Fire &Rescue Service flag, Bush Fire Service Flag, the State Emergency Service flag, Volunteer Marine Rescue Service flag.

Ratified by the SESVA Committee on the 01/07/2013