Volunteers celebrate then commiserate
During the week of 11 to 18 May, the efforts of the Gosnells State Emergency Service volunteers were recognised within the community. While the volunteers received appreciation through National Volunteers Week, the SES volunteers were promoting “Storm Awareness Week”. The Gosnells volunteers and their families recognised and celebrated these events on Saturday 17 May. The following Wednesday, when the volunteers left their families to attend training in the evening, rather than reflect on the past week, they were confronted with cleaning up after another break-in and theft.
“The damage was far more severe than the fire and vandalism earlier this year”, said Paul Hollamby, Local Manager Gosnells State Emergency Service. A vehicle was damaged and thousands of dollars of rescue equipment stolen. This resulted in the vehicle and trailer being unsuitable for rescues. The following day two of the Gosnells volunteers spent the entire day clean up the damage, documenting missing items and rationalising equipment to that this vehicle could be brought back into serve the community needs. The winter storm season runs from May to October and is followed by occasional summer storms. The devastating impact of severe weather can often be underestimated because they are short lived and limited to a small community, so receive little media coverage.
Residents in Maddington were on the receiving end of a severe storm event in September last year, where about 70 residents had structural damage to their homes and even more lost power for many hours. SES volunteers and the local community used about 20 cubic metres of sand, so that sand bags could be used to secure roof sheeting and tarpaulins. SES volunteers normally perform these duties during weekends and in the evenings, until insurance companies can arrange for the repairs to be permanent, during office hours. This time that is readily given to the community but is in lieu of time with their families.
“NATIONAL Volunteer Week” was also held during the same week. Gosnells SES volunteers, their families and those volunteers and families from the Gosnells bush fire brigade were privileged to attend a thank you presentation provided by the City of Gosnells on Saturday 17 May. This is the only opportunity for the volunteers and families to come together socially and reflect on their contribution towards making a safer and better community.
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