SES Communications Support Unit (CSU)
The SES Communications Support Unit (CSU) was created around 1962 as a part of the Civil Defence and Emergency Service of Western Australia. It was the Communications Section of the State Headquarters. Volunteer members were known as Staff Officer Reserve (SOR) and were part of a group of Staff and Volunteers, along with Operations Section Volunteers, who managed State level operations for emergency incidents.
The group transitioned to being part of the Western Australian State Emergency Service when the Civil Defence part of the organisation’s name was dropped in 1974. After the transition it retained its name of Communications Section. The group remained with these titles for about forty years until, in the early 2000s, it was formally approved as an SES Unit under the FES act (1998). It then became the SES Communications Support Unit (CSU).
The CSU has continuously operated a volunteer Section/Unit to support the Western Australian community at State, Regional and Local levels and is not associated with specific local government boundaries. It is one of the longest operating SES groups in the State.
The CSU remains unique throughout Australia and has always included innovative volunteers serving their community and travelling throughout the State developing volunteers and staff in the establishment and maintenance of emergency communication systems.
During emergency operations, the CSU are regularly activated to establish and maintain critical communication links in areas where there is little or no existing radio and telephone services. In the earlier years the CSU specialised in HF, VHF and UHF radio and telephony systems and networks. Today however, the range of services provided extends to satellite communication, digital audio/visual data management over the Internet and dedicated secure channels.
For many years CSU was based in at the ‘Bunker’ in Belmont and is currently based at the SWORD facility in Kewdale. The Unit consists of more than forty volunteers, whose ‘daytime’ jobs range from students, ICT professionals, radio technicians and professionals from various fields.
As an SES Volunteer unit, the CSU has been managed by Volunteer Local Managers including Cheryl Greenough, Stephen Summerton, Henry Edwards, Rob Crawford, Greg Cook and currently Chris Knight.