SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia (Incorporated)

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24/11/2017 – National Disaster Rescue Challenge

NDRC 2017 TeamWA
The SES Volunteers Association (SESVA) coordinated a team from Western Australia to participate in the SES National Disaster Rescue Challenge, conducted at Fort Direction, South Arm, Hobart.  The composite team was made up of SES Volunteers from five Perth metropolitan SES units:

  • Lawrence Bilson    Bayswater SES Unit    Team Leader
  • Cary Wintle          Bayswater SES Unit
  • Joanne Brown       Bayswater SES Unit
  • Douglas Head       Swan SES Unit
  • Ian Milne              Kalamunda SES Unit
  • Cathy Inman        Kalamunda SES Unit
  • Matt Pestell          Gosnells SES Unit
  • Anthony Rees      Stirling SES Unit
  • Mark Geary        Gosnells SES Unit     Team Coach
  • Phillip Petersen   Gosnells SES Unit    Team Manager

Initially the team and a squad of reserves trained under the guidance of James Hines from Northshore and then later by Mark Geary of Gosnells.  The team performed well in the preparation training and during the challenge. All SES teams were exposed to eight rescue scenarios which tested leadership, teamwork, tenacity and the national core skills of SES first responders.

The team successfully achieved the activities, often using equipment they had little exposure or training in, due to the different policies in our state, compared to the other states and territories. One example was the provision of high pressure air bags, which have been removed from general rescue use in SES (WA).

The team accepted feedback at the different stands and were praised by the judges for the manner in which they successfully tackled the challenges.  DFES Assistant Commissioner, Lloyd Bailey AFSM, and SESVA President, Gordon Hall, keenly followed the team through each activity, where they witnessed some great team work and a high level of skills, which did the team proud.
It was observed that what the team experienced and learnt, will make them better SES Volunteers to advance training in Western Australia into the future, delivering a great service to the community of Western Australia.
The SESVA plans to take learning’s from the challenge to the DFES training system planners.
The SESVA appreciates the support of a number of DFES staff including the immediate past FES Commissioner, Wayne Gregson APM, the recently appointed DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm and the Ops Command Chiefs for their personal support and assistance to the SESVA for the preparation and entry of the NDRC TeamWA.
SESVA President Gordon Hall said “what the WA team did over the two days was phenomenal. I observed all eight stands and the leadership and team dynamics was of the highest standard. Even during the grueling stands in the heat, no body balked or slackened off. In the last stand, sand bags were being filled, carted and laid for 50 of the 60 minutes. Everyone performed at a very high level and they have done us all proud. The leadership by Lawrence and the support he received from all team members was superb. All I can say is that they were brilliant. Well done TeamWA”
The SESVA believes it has been worth the three years of negotiation with DFES to enter an SES team into the National Challenge after some years of departure. The SESVA acknowledges the support of the chairman of the Australian Council of State Emergency Services (ACSES), Mark Smethurst DSC, AM, Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service for allowing Western Australia to enter, even though Western Australia is not a member of ACSES.
Final results were:

  • New South Wales
  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Australia Capital Territory
  • Queensland
  • Western Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria

The team appreciated the welcome and comradery from the host, Tasmania SES, and other state and territory SES teams. I was proud to be the manager of the team and wish the team members the very best in their SES Volunteering future. I thank the team, the trainers and the reserves for their contribution above normal levels of duty.

Phillip Petersen ESM
TeamWA Team Manager




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