State Emergency Services volunteers ready to weather the storm

TESTING THE WATER: Trainer Shane Bullock takes Rachael Walsh, Toni McDonald and Kevin Cotter through a water pumping and water diversion exercise. Photo: STEVE GOSCH                                                                      0809sgses1

TESTING THE WATER: Trainer Shane Bullock takes Rachael Walsh, Toni McDonald and Kevin Cotter through a water pumping and water diversion exercise. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0809sgses1

THE storm season is two months away and the Orange State Emergency Services (SES) branch is preparing well ahead. 

After hours of rigorous storm training on the weekend 23 volunteers will be ready to respond to calls of broken roofs and minor flooding. 

Team leader Amanda Aitken said the crew learnt everything from how to operate a pump to divert water, to how a house is put together and what shoes to wear on which roof. 

“With some tiles you have to wear Dunlop volleys because they’re slippery,” she said. 

Volunteers worked nail guns, fire extinguishers and were taught how to correctly place tarpaulin on a roof that had sprung a leak. 

The Orange branch has 30 volunteers from 16 years and up and is always on the lookout for more helping hands. 

Ms Aitken said volunteers did not have to necessarily be fit and the group could work with anyone who was afraid of heights.

“There’s always jobs on the ground and if you didn’t want to work on the ground then there are always jobs in communication,” she said.

Volunteers are on call and receive a text message on their mobile phones if they are needed for a job.

The group trains on Monday nights from 7.

“They’re the best bunch of people, it’s like a big family,” Ms Aitken said. 

“I started here six years ago because I wanted to help the community. Since then I’ve become a team leader and I run a cadet program at Canobolas high school. I’ve been able to teach students what I’ve learned.”

To join the SES call 132 500.

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