The last couple of months are traditionally quiet for the Gosnells SES, in terms of operations. It is generally after the winter storms, and before bush searches, cyclone and fire support. In addition to weekly consolidation training and activities, the Gosnells SES has been training not only SES volunteers, but also volunteers from the Gosnells Bush Fire Brigade (BFB).
The Gosnells SES is proactive in the use of electronic mapping. A large area can be split into manageable areas and printed in colour for search teams. When a team completes the area, GPS data can then be added, showing exactly where the teams went. At the end of the search the data from all the teams can be overlayed and be the based for a report of the search. We ran a course for the Gosnells Bush Fire Brigade, so that they may be able to do similar management and reporting. The only difference is the data would be based on vehicle movement, rather than by foot.
Gosnells SES also ran an Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) Course. Participants learnt how to search a damaged or collapsed building for trapped or injured persons. The persons were rescued and once complete, mark the area so other team would not have to go over the same grounds. This course covers a lot of topics that the SES has trained in for over 30 years. If a major disaster was to affect Perth or WA, all emergency services would be utilised, and a single course run across all FESA agencies will maintain standardisation.
A search team member course was organised by the Gosnells SES, and invited volunteers from across the metropolitan area to attend. Over a weekend, volunteer students and trainers contributed around 150 hours.
The following weekend, one of the search trainers volunteered another 25 hours to train search team leaders from across the Perth Metropolitan area. This is significant and representative of many senior SES volunteers. It equates to leaving home at 6am and not returning until after 6pm. If you take into account working from Monday to Friday, families of volunteers should also be recognised.
The relationship between Gosnells SES and Gosnells BFB will be further cemented, as a number of our trainers are preparing to run a First Aid Course next month. As the community would expect, this course will include and extend beyond that covered by a “Senior First Aid” course. This course will include volunteers from both services and will help to build trust and relationships, especially for when the Gosnells SES provides support services to the BFB during the bush fire season.
It is worth remembering that volunteers would not be able to make this commitment without the support of their families and employers. Training with the SES is open to men and women, of all ages over 18. Contact the Gosnells SES on 9459 8015 to find out more about becoming a volunteer.