SCENIC Rim SES volunteers have been named Queensland's Unit of the Year after a challenging year that saw emergency service personnel challenged at every turn.
The year began with historic bushfires in the Scenic Rim area, followed by significant storms, local flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Scenic Rim Regional SES Unit has been recognised for their exceptional initiatives, dedicated service and outstanding operational response to the Scenic Rim community.
While COVID restrictions prevented all 150 local SES volunteers attending the October 11 award presentation at The Centre Beaudesert, a second event was held yesterday at Boonah, where individual members of the unit were also recognised for their efforts.
SES Local Controller Danni Bull said the Black Summer bushfires had been a test of mettle.
'There was a massive effort by a lot of people and the SES was utilised in a way it had never been before," she said.
"We were in the incident control centres helping with logistics, communication and administration.
"We also carried out numerous tasks in the field so firefighters could get on with their job."
When COVID-19 hit, SES members carried on their training online to keep up their skills and stay connected to each other during several months of social restrictions, Ms Bull said.
"The Coronavirus pandemic saw SES assist Queensland Police at the Mt Lindsay Highway, Carney's Creek Border Crossing, Brisbane Airport and at the four border crossing on the Gold Coast," she said.
"The local government election also fell during Covid, which brought the request for assistance to ensure social distancing at many of our polling booths.
"To date there have been 350 SES members completing 4218 shifts for a total of 57,872 hours. That is equal to 2411 days or 6.6 years.
"This extraordinary effort put in by members is ongoing and at this stage does not have an end date."
Ms Bull said when restrictions were eased, people were encouraged to get out, go hiking and exercise.
"Unfortunately, some were unprepared and inexperienced," she said.
"This led to one of the biggest search and rescue seasons we have encountered. With multiple vertical rescues, land searches, recoveries and calls for assistance, the skills and local knowledge of our teams proved invaluable."
Results of SES Week Awards presented on October 11
- Peter Skinner - 20 Year Meritorious Medal Clasp
- Sandy Bell - 25 year Meritorious Medal Clasp and
- Lee Osner - 15 year National Medal
- Mary Rasmussen - 40 year Meritorious Medal Clasp
- Graham Stumer - 35 year Meritorious Medal Clasp, 35 year National Medal
- Cliff Orford - 20 year Meritorious Medal Clasp
- Tara Fahy - 30 year Meritorious Medal Clasp
- Peter Maclaurin - 35 year Meritorious Medal Clasp
Assistant Commissioner's Certificate of Appreciation for exceptional level of service through the 2019 bushfires at Sarabah and Boonah fires.
- Bill Gaudry - Assistant Commissioner's Certificate of Appreciation
- Danni Bull - Assistant Commissioner's Certificate of Appreciation
- Graham Stumer - Assistant Commissioner's Certificate of Appreciation
Assistant Commissioner's Commendation For Exceptional management, leadership and coordination of the State Emergency Service Operations during the 2019 bushfires at Sarabah and Boonah.
- Scenic Rim Unit
Regional Operational Response of the Year
- Scenic Rim Unit (For exceptional service and dedication to the Scenic Rim community during the Black Summer Bushfires.)
- Tied with Gold Coast for their assistance with Covid Border Closures.
Regional Unit/Group of the Year
- Scenic Rim Unit (for exceptional initiatives, dedicated service and outstanding operational response to their community.
Ms Bull said winning the Regional Awards put Scenic Rim SES Unit into the running for the State Awards.
"We were presented with the Commissioner's Cup - State Unit/Group of the Year for exceptional initiatives, dedicated service and outstanding operational response to their community," she said.
For the unit level awards, Ms Bull said about 60 SES members attended the presentation at Boonah on October 22.
"It was a good opportunity for members to get together to celebrate our big win for SES Week," she said.
'It is great the team was recognised for all their hard work."
Ms Bull said Scenic Rim SES was hoping to attract more volunteers ahead of storm season, particularly in the Boonah, Aratula and Flinders Peak areas.
"From reports so far we are expecting some wet weather ahead, and with that comes potential for flooding," she said.
"Anyone interested in the SES can contact us through our Scenic Rim SES Facebook page or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
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