Featured / Community / 10th March 2022
SES revived in Baradine
The Baradine community has come together to see the town’s State Emergency Service become operational once more.
The important service struck some obstacles when the effects of COVID-19 were first felt in Australia, with the local organisation laying dormant.
But some initiative and town spirit from Baradine residents has seen the volunteer service spring back to life.
On Thursday, 10 February, a meeting was held with a number of concerned citizens.
SES community engagement manager for the western zone, Davide Rankine, said it was exciting to see the residents of Baradine get behind the cause.
“Usually something like this comes from the top down in a push to see an area either continue operating or to re-open,” Mr Rankine said.
“The exciting thing about this is that it has been the other way around - it has been a community push to see the service return and we’re really happy about that.
“Volunteering in regional Australia is on the decline, so Baradine has somewhat bucked the trend with its residents eager and willing to do what is needed.”
One of the faces behind the push to return the SES unit is Baradine police officer, Steve Jacobs, who identified a need for the service in the community.
Mr Rankine said the aim was to have Baradine’s SES crew operational by Saturday, 19 March, in time for the Baradine Show. However, he insisted it wasn’t as easy as signing volunteers up and handing out orange jumpsuits.
“The process is to do the onboard, which means the volunteers have a background criminal history check, then they get a member number and a uniform and then we deliver a job-ready basic training package to all new members to ensure they all have the skills to contribute to the community safely.
“And then they get trained into different teams.”
Until a unit commander can be trained and put in place, Mr Rankine said the very experienced Coonamble SES unit commander, John Lewis, will assume the role.
The Baradine SES crew will be responsible for clearing up storm and wind damage and assisting during floods, such as the recent event that resulted in the towns of Gwabegar and Baradine being cut off from other major towns.
Mr Rankine said until adequate training could be provided, the Baradine crew would not assist with motor vehicle accidents.
“That is the ultimate goal though. The long- term plan is for a holistic response which will include road crash rescue, but the training involved in that can take a long time,” Mr Rankine said.
“In the meantime, the Coonamble unit will respond to those call outs.
“For now, Baradine’s responsibilities will lie with protecting lives and property from storms and flooding.”
TOP: Members of the recently formed Baradine SES team, Steven Jacobs, Aiden Cameron, Rikki Thompson, Ross Myers, Julie Stewart and Allan Blanch. Photo: Liz Cutts.