SES calls for more volunteers

Melton SES members Alyssa Calladine, Rod Fraser and Yvonne Newton. (Luke Hemer)

By Ewen McRae

They’re some of the first people called when help is needed around town, but now the Melton SES is calling for some help of its own.
The local SES is doing a recruitment drive to boost numbers, with a busy summer of weather events, call-outs and community assistance highlighting the need for more volunteers.
Melton SES section leader Karl Sass said while the unit had coped reasonably well over the summer, there was always a need for more help
“We’re one of the busier units going around, and we’re getting busier every year,” Mr Sass said.
“We probably average between 200 to 300 jobs every year, and this summer has been a particularly busy time for us as we kept up with some big weather events locally, but also providing operational support at the bushfires in Gippsland, and helping out in other areas.
“We’ve got 22 members at the moment, but we need to make sure we keep up with demand in the area.”
The Melton branch covers a wide area, from Melton to Burnside, and from Eynesbury to Toolern Vale, and with high population growth in the region, the group can sometimes be stretched.
Mr Sass said there was a lot of training provided for all volunteers, and the benefits of helping the local community made the job very rewarding.
“We have regular training on a Monday night, and all our volunteers get the chance to improve a wide range of skills,” he said.
“Whether it’s basic first aid and CPR, or map reading, search and rescue, 4WD rescue, there’s a whole range of skills and experience that you can specialise in, so there’s no prior experience needed, just a willingness to learn and help out.
“There’s a role for everyone in the SES.”
The unit will hold an information night from 7.30pm on February 19 at its headquarters at 90 High Street, Melton, and Mr Sass encouraged anyone with even a little bit of interest to attend.
“It’s a good chance to come and meet us and find out about what we do, and we can answer any questions you might have,” he said. “You get a huge amount out of volunteering, in terms of skill advancement but also a huge amount of satisfaction in helping the community.”