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As a volunteer, you may at times be exposed to situations that you may find disturbing at the time or even later in life. Depending on the Unit you join, these may include road crash rescues, searches for missing persons or evidence or assisting other emergency services at critical incidents.

Common reactions to such situations include nausea, fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression to name a few. While Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is provided to volunteers, you should discuss any concerns you may have and how you feel you would cope in these situations.

Not everyone is ‘cut out’ for operational response roles, but there are many support roles which may suit you, such as communications support, public relations, operations centre management and property protection.

Emergencies are unpredictable and the frequency of operational callouts will vary from Unit to Unit and may be anything from weekly to annually.

It is also likely that you may spend more time training than in actual response.

The SES is not looking for glory seekers or those chasing an adrenalin rush. The SES is looking for team players, all of whom are dedicated to providing a public service in the safest possible manner.

 Volunteers must know and accept their roles and the responsibilities that go with them. This means volunteers follow instructions, act responsibly and treat other volunteers, officers and the public with respect and courtesy.

Serving the community professionally demands that volunteers undertake at least the minimum training according to SES requirements. This is conducted on a regular basis and can mean a fair amount of time away from family. It is important you and your family understand this.

Volunteers are the backbone of the SES, but we also rely heavily on the goodwill of a volunteer’s employer and family. 

It is important that you consider the following questions.

  • Are your employer and family supportive of your volunteer commitments?
  • Are you able to be released from work at short notice?
  • Are you able to be released from work for prolonged periods (i.e. 1 – 5 days)?
  • Are you prepared to be separated from your family for prolonged periods (i.e. 1 – 5 days)?
  • Would you incur penalties/loss of income or leave entitlements if called away during work hours?
  • Would we have permission to contact you during work hours?