News

Meet the unsung heroes behind Tweed Heads SES

Jamie and Cheyenne Wickert (front) and other Banora point SES members Photo Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Jamie and Cheyenne Wickert (front) and other Banora point SES members Photo Blainey Woodham / Daily News Blainey Woodham

TWEED Heads SES unit controller Ian Anderson has dedicated 30 years of his life to helping others in need during times of flood, storm and fire.

Mr Anderson is just one of many volunteers being recognised as part of SES Week.

He joined the service in Lismore before becoming a member of the Tweed Coast SES, now called Tweed Heads SES, located at Banora Point.

Mr Anderson said he joined to give something back to the community and help people when they need it most.

"Over the years, we've dealt with a great number of emergencies and some of the worst were the 2001 hailstorm in Kingscliff and the severe weather dump in June 2005 which caused floods affecting most of the shire."

Mr Anderson said the work of the SES had changed significantly and had become a lot more complex.

"Putting a tarpaulin over a damaged roof, for instance, used to be simple.

"However, today's differences in roof design and the introduction of equipment such as satellite dishes make the job a lot more challenging.

Tweed Heads SES rescue boat driver Don Power, who joined the service when it was still called Civil Defence, said the service had responded to 10 missing person call outs in the last year alone and was forced to go out on the river after dark to try and locate some of these missing people.

"We're trained in night navigation so we can go out when it's dark, put a spotlight on the shore and water and rescue or locate a missing person," Mr Power said.

"We have a highly qualified group of volunteers who are all trained in first aid.

"Members can specialise and train to become radio operators, storm and water damage crew members or chainsaw crew members.

"Volunteers can also decide to perform more generalised duties and train in everything," Mr Power said.

Mr Anderson said the SES faced staffing problems because of an aging membership and needed younger, trained volunteers to take up the slack.

"We can always do with more members, especially young people trained to use equipment such as chainsaws.

Tweed Heads SES unit trains every Monday from 7.30-9.30pm and anyone interested in joining can call 0419 499 947.

Topics:  ses



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