It’s hard to believe that until this week an integral arm of emergency services in Tasmania was missing the opportunity to have a united voice.
More than 500 volunteers work alongside 23 permanent staff as part of Tasmania’s State Emergency Service.
These are the men and women who leave work or the warmth of their homes to assist during bushfires, floods, and missing person searches.
In our regional areas they are often the first to the scene of car crashes.
These volunteers stand side by side with Ambulance Tasmania, Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania Police.
Given the majority of volunteers are from regional areas, they are often connected in some way, shape or form with the people needing assistance.
On Sunday a meeting involving representatives from around the state created an interim committee.
By July this year it is expected a Tasmanian SES volunteer organisation will be formed. The organisation will act as a collective voice for the volunteers.
Once our state has its own organisation, we will also be able to work in closer collaboration with volunteers from around Australia.
This organisation may not seem like a life-altering addition for SES. But it’s important to those in our community who either volunteer or benefit from the services SES provide.
They are more than volunteers. They are men and women who raise their hand to help others without asking for anything in return.
These volunteers support us every day.
There are many ways we too can offer our support.
Firstly, is to join the group as a volunteer. There are many different roles within the SES whether it be communication or physical response.
Secondly, would be for key stakeholders – such as political parties and other agencies such as firefighters, police and ambulance – who would communicate with this organisation to acknowledge this step and commit to working alongside the group for the betterment of emergency services in our state.
It’s great to see that support will be given back to them in an official capacity with their own organisation and in turn gifting them a united voice at a state and national level.