QFES celebrates the power of volunteering

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration of the power of volunteering and has never been more relevant to Queenslanders than the months following Tropical Cyclone Debbie (TC Debbie).


Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll said Queenslanders were still feeling the effects of TC Debbie and was extremely proud of volunteers throughout recovery operations across communities hit hard by TC Debbie.


“I was fortunate enough to get into areas affected by TC Debbie and saw the gratitude of the community when volunteers would arrive, it was truly humbling,” Ms Carroll said.


“QFES had more than 2,400 volunteers deployed during the operation, putting their hands up to travel from Cairns to the Gold Coast, the response was incredible.


“The contribution of our emergency services volunteers is crucial to the ongoing success of QFES and I am proud to be the Commissioner of such a wonderful group of people.


“Volunteers regularly stop their usual lives and leave their homes and family to help their fellow Queenslanders.


“I encourage everyone to use this National Volunteer Week to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers around Australia, for their commitment to our safety and wellbeing.”


QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said volunteers made up a large part of operational response and were provided with comprehensive training and equipment to respond when called upon.


“QFES has more than 36,000 Rural Fire Service (RFS) and more than 6,000 SES volunteers spread throughout Queensland and it would be impossible to respond as quickly or as well without them,” Mr Wassing said.


“Volunteers respond operationally around Queensland and lead or assist during disasters but we also want to thank those who work behind the scenes as well.


“Brigade and group administrators, logistics personnel and educators work to ensure we have volunteers available and equipped when required.


“As well as members from the SES and RFS, QFES is able to utilise the specialist skills of volunteers for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), consisting of canine handlers, medical experts and engineers.


“The Research and Scientific Branch also calls upon skilled volunteers to respond to chemical emergencies with approximately 40 qualified chemists and chemical engineers working across the state as volunteer Scientific Advisors.”


Mr Wassing said National Volunteer Week coincided with Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day), an annual day to celebrate the nations SES.


“WOW Day is a celebration everyone can get involved by dressing in orange this Wednesday (10 May),” he said.

“The SES are one of the first volunteer services who respond to major disasters, land searches, disaster recovery and flood rescues just to name a few. 


“It’s an easy way to show your appreciation and I encourage everyone to get involved.


“By supporting National Volunteer Week and WOW Day, you’re not just supporting our volunteers, you’re also recognising their families and workplaces who help them in their volunteering endeavours.”


Lesley Jordan, manager of Gurgo’s Inspirations Paint in Ayr said employing volunteers was something she was proud of and was happy to let her staff leave for volunteering duties when required.


“One of our staff members volunteers for the SES and goes above and beyond on a daily basis, he is a great guy,” Ms Jordan said.


“We will always work our hardest to allow our staff to leave if they need to fulfil their volunteering, we never want to let the community down.

“I’m proud that we are able to help our staff keep their volunteering commitments going.”


For more information about Wear Orange Wednesday visit http://www.wearorangewednesday.com.au/

9 May 2017.