The people behind the uniform | State Emergency Service


Karlie Brady


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AT THE READY: The Mossman SES team at their weekly training session. Image Karlie Brady

As our series on the emergency services in the Douglas Shire continues, we turn our focus this week to the State Emergency Service (SES).

The SES is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run, emergency service organisation whose members are highly trained in a variety of roles, allowing them to assist the community in times of disasters and emergencies.

Mossman SES group leader, Robyn Gray, said the SES is made up of community members who are there to support both the public and other emergency services when extra personnel are needed during events.

“Most of our work is in the monsoon season when it's flooding and raining,” she said.

“We occasionally get called for flood boat jobs, like when the Daintree is flooding so we can get the other emergency services to the Daintree.

“We also sometimes use the flood boat to go up creeks or out to sea when we are searching for missing people.

“We can do forensic searches under the guidance of police. That’s one of the hardest parts of the job, searching for a missing person that we already know is deceased or a high possibility that they could be deceased.”

Ms Gray said their most common jobs are helping community members after storm damage, including removing fallen trees, putting tarps on roofs that are exposed after storms and sandbagging to prevent flooding.

“We can also do welfare checks when people ring up when they can't get in contact with somebody, so we can go have a look and see if they’re okay.”

When the weather gets wild, the SES get busy and Ms Gray said it is unpredictable how many call outs they might get.

“It all depends on the storm season, last year we had 70 call outs in three days when we had massive flooding over in Port Douglas.

“We could have a few hundred call outs in one year and in other years we could hardly go out at all.”

The Mossman SES branch currently has 12 members between the ages of 18 and 65 years and is on call 24/7, ready to assist at any time.

They are calling for anyone looking for exciting outdoor experiences to volunteer.

“If you're interested in serving the community, learning new skills and having fun while you're doing it, join up.

“Because we do have fun,” she added.

SES members receive valuable training such as first aid, navigational skills, road crash rescue, rescue from heights, flood boat rescue, land search techniques, and leadership and team building skills.

“I actually joined up to learn how to use a chainsaw, because all our training is free no matter what course you do.”

Now in her fourth year, Ms Gray said the job is really rewarding and she really enjoys serving the community.

“It’s getting out there and helping someone and being able to go back and think I did that and I helped there.”

For anyone looking to sign up, the Mossman SES team train every Wednesday night from 7.00pm to 9.00pm at the Mossman depot behind the council building.

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