All welcome at SES Open Night

Burdekin SES are inviting members of the public to an Open Night to see what happens behind the scenes.

Photo: Marni Hines
The Burdekin SES will open their doors and invite the public to see what they do, with an Open Night at their McCathie Street, Ayr building from 7pm next Monday, 28 March.
The event will include a tour of the building, display of SES vehicles, sandbagging demonstrations and a free sausage sizzle.
Burdekin SES Controller John Winn said no one was too young, busy or unskilled to join.
“Whatever you put in, you get back – some people just want to help in clean ups after significant weather events like floods, while others are interested in undertaking water rescue training, working at heights training and chainsaw training,” Mr Winn said.
“The Burdekin SES currently has about 30 active members, however a large number of them are aging so it is really important that we keep attracting new membership, no matter the age. Anyone can join, from 16 years old, however those under 18 would require a parent or caregiver to be with them during any exercise.
“We hold meetings and training every Monday night, but people’s involvement is really up to them – as long as all training is up to date and you help out when you can, that’s all we ask. Volunteering for the SES provides a lot of transferable skills no matter what industry you’re in, we deal with a lot of training that can be applied to the emergency services, and there are chances to advance training in Townsville or further afield.”
Burdekin SES Deputy Group Leader – Rita Island, Debbie Calligaro, said being a part of the SES provided you with friends and skills for life.
“When I first joined I didn’t realise just how many different skills you could learn with SES, with all skills being things that you can put into practice in your everyday life such as First Aid/CPR, how to properly operate ladders and chainsaws, how to tie the correct knots for particular applications, flood boat courses, swift water rescue courses and a lot more, all paid for by the SES,” Ms Calligaro said.
 “I joined the SES in October 2020 so I could give back to my community, especially my immediate community of Rita Island. My partner Marni was already a member and I saw not only how much work they did, but the type of work the group did during the 2019 floods.
“You get to make new friends, learn new skills and have a good time all at once.”
Chair of the Burdekin Local Disaster Management Group, Cr Lyn McLaughlin, said the greatest part of the Burdekin was its people.
“The Burdekin community is one of the strongest and most resilient in Australia, and it is heartening to know that in the event of a disaster, there is a dedicated team of volunteers that are well-trained and able to assist,” Cr McLaughlin said.
“Our SES are always looking for volunteers and next week’s Open Night is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the community to tour the Ayr SES building, hear presentations from members, and find out how to join. I encourage everyone to attend.”
The Burdekin SES Open Night will be held at their McCathie Street building, Ayr from 7 – 9 pm on Monday 28 March.

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Catherine Duffy is a budding writer with a background in creative writing, English literature and journalism. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines both locally and internationally. She has a particular interest in regional and community-based news stories. ... more