Lives and property their priorities

THE Hills SES continues to provide assistance to the Rural Fire Service as they fight fires burning out of control in NSW.

"We have about a dozen volunteers rostered to answer the Bushfire Information Line at the RFS headquarters in Homebush," local controller, Evelyn Lester, said.

They include retiree Wayne MacKenzie of Carlingford.

A former local emergency management officer for City of Sydney, he has made himself available 8pm to 1am until January 19.

"Dad joined the [Hills SES's] operations centre a couple of years ago," his son Malcolm of Maroota said.

"I suggested it to him after he retired."

Ms Lester said SES volunteers also assist the RFS with the transportation of people, door-knocking support, and the chain-sawing of trees that may have fallen on roads as a result of fires.

"There is a memorandum of understanding that we support each other," she said of the relationship between the SES and RFS.

An estimator by profession, Malcolm volunteers with not only the SES (he is the Hills SES's senior field member), but also the RFS.

"We're always looking for members for both," he said.

"They should be people with an interest in the community who are willing to learn and share."

Malcolm is the deputy captain, treasurer and mitigation co-ordinator at Maroota Rural Fire Brigade.

"With the SES, I am involved in general rescue, I'm a chainsaw operator and swift water rescue technician," he said.

"Swift water rescue involves rescuing someone from fast-slowing waters. I trained at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium but haven't used it yet.

"I joined the Parramatta SES in 1993 — the same year as Kylie [his wife] joined the Hills SES — and came across to the Hills about five years later.

"That's where we met.

"Our dating was when the hailstorms went through [Sydney's] eastern suburbs."

These are some of the roles you could participate in if you volunteer: 

SES ROLES

■ Air search;

■ Community education;

■ Community first responder, includes providing first aid at an advanced level until professional first aid arrives;

■ Land search;

■ Media;

■ Road crash rescue;

■ Storm preparation and response;

■ Urban search and rescue; and

■ Vertical rescue, involves using specialised equipment and techniques for rescuing people from heights or depths.

Details: Hills SES holds its next training session on Wednesday, January 23, 8pm at Building 20, Balcombe Heights Estate, 92 Seven Hills Road, Baulkham Hills. Call: 9639 3434 for information.

RFS ROLES

■ Firefighting;

■ Communications;

■ Catering;

■ Logistics;

■ Planning;

■ Aviation support.

Details: volunteer@rfs.nsw.gov.au.

The story Lives and property their priorities first appeared on Hills News.

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