SES ready to respond


SES ready to respond

THE sinking fisherman was desperate for help.

As his boat disappeared into Anderson Inlet, he dialled 000 to contact emergency services, only to be told by the operator he required the State Emergency Service (SES) and would need to call another number.

Holding his phone above the water, he explained the urgency of his situation.

Fortunately, the Inverloch SES came to his rescue.

Few people realise they can ring a standalone phone number to call for the SES in an emergency.

It’s a point the Inverloch unit’s new controller Scott Watson-Francis is keen for the public to know.

The phone number is 132 500.

Boaters can program it into their phones in case they need help on the water. Home-owners are urged to list the number by their phones in case their roof is lifted by gale force winds and they need the SES to help prevent further damage.

Like many community organisations, the Inverloch SES is seeking more members to not only spread the workload but also extend the opportunities the SES offers.

Members have many potential qualifications at their disposal, from general rescue and truck driving to coxswains tickets, chainsaw operation and leadership. All training, uniforms and pagers are funded by the SES.

A bonus of joining the Inverloch unit is the offshore rescue boat. Inverloch is the only SES unit in Victoria to have a boat of that size.

The unit also has a smaller inflatable boat for inlet work, as well as a rescue truck and transport vehicle.

The 25 members range in age from 19 to their 80s, and there are many opportunities for volunteers. Operational members can attend emergencies, including flood and storm callouts, and marine rescues. Associate members are able to help with such tasks as fleet management and radios.

“You do not actually have to go out on the truck at one o’clock in the morning and cut up a tree,” Mr Watson-Francis said.

The SES is the primary agency responsible for attending to flood, storm, earthquake and tsunami incidents.

Mr Watson-Francis has taken over the volunteer role from Ang Chiodo.

An electrical tradesman, Mr Watson-Francis has worked in management and returned to South Gippsland after living in Queensland for 17 years.

“I joined the SES as a general member to give something back to the community,” he said.

“I like working with the good crew that we have here. It’s a demanding role but everyone chips in.”

Mr Watson-Francis gave more than he expected when the SES rescued a woman stuck waist-high in mud at Venus Bay. He lay on his stomach in the mud, digging the angler free after she waded in from shore.

“They are the type of jobs you can get but they do not come along all the time,” he said.

The Inverloch SES unit meets every Monday at 7pm at the SES headquarters in Bear Street, Inverloch, alternating between training and meeting nights. To find out more, contact Mr Watson-Francis on 0405 151 624.

Fresh ideas: from left, Ang Chiodo, former unit controller of Inverloch State Emergency Service, wishes new controller Scott Watson-Francis well in the role.

Fresh ideas: from left, Ang Chiodo, former unit controller of Inverloch State Emergency Service, wishes new controller Scott Watson-Francis well in the role.

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Posted by on Aug 25 2015. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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