Flood showed desperate need for new SES recruits as member numbers increase

ABOVE: New recruits to Casino SES Unit at training. Photo: Casino SES

Susanna Freymark

More people have put their hands up to join their local SES since the floods.

This is welcome news for the emergency organisation that was stretched beyond its limits during the record-breaking floods in February-March.

The Casino SES had 17 members in its unit during the floods.

Deputy unit commander Donna Lamont said every one of their 17 members was involved in some way, be it taking phone calls, filling sandbags or saving people from flooded cars and houses.

That’s 17 people from a town with a population of 11,000.

“One  person out of every 650 has put their hand up and said I want to make a difference, I want to help my community,” Ms Lamont said.

“Casino SES has received 10 new member applications with six of those now officially members.”

The extra members will be a great help during events like the floods, Ms Lamont said.

“Some members, myself included, volunteered for days on end with minimal sleep.”

The extra members mean the unit won’t have to rely so heavily on a few core crews.

“It also helps open up more opportunities for members to deploy to other areas of the state or country without leaving our own town low on help if needed,” Ms Lamont said.

The new SES recruits to Casino each had their own motivations for joining

For Bron Goulding it was about giving back to the community.

“Seeing the SES in action during the floods made me choose SES as my way to do this,” she said.

Caitlin Rose felt that people were forgetting how important volunteer organisations were.

“Since joining I’ve already started getting out of my comfort zone and meeting new people,” she said.

The new recruits take the Casino SES unit members to 23.

Kyogle SES Unit has had three new members join since the floods.

If you’d like to know more about volunteering with the NSW SES, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au or call Casino SES on 0408 232 683.

Kyogle SES Unit in training. Photo: Kyogle SES.

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