60 new volunteers sign up with Lismore SES after flood
MORE than 60 people have put up heir hand to join the State Emergency Service in Lismore after the recent floods.
In the six months since the March floods caused by ex-Cycle Debbie, the SES Lismore Unit has had to weather ongoing negativity from what they see as a core group of residents, while still answering requests ranging from Storm Damage to assisting other first responders including Fire & Rescue, Rural Fire Service and NSW Police at motor vehicle accidents.
According to SES local controller and unit member, Mel Mapstone, the Lismore volunteers are dedicated to serving their community,
She said the unit is thrilled to welcome new residents to the organisation.
"The response to recruitment from the community has been overwhelming,” she said.
"While we are in a rebuilding phase, we have managed to retain most of our core members and are really pleased so many new members are going through their training.”
SES acting deputy region controller for Richmond Tweed, Chad Ellis said he and the other staff and members of the organisation were very heartened by the letter sent by SES commissioner Mark Smethurst which appeared in this newspaper yesterday.
In his letter, Mr Smethurst said the local members had his full support and had undertaken important work in often difficult conditions.
"The Lismore Unit has recently been undeserved negative sentiment towards our hard-working local NSW SES volunteers and staff with a reduction in their morale and several leaving because of unmerited negative comments,” he said.
Mr Ellis said he felt Mr Smethurst's response clarified some of the elements in the response and behaviour and actions community and organisation.
"I think his letter and support of our members is great,” he said.
"The SES is the Swiss Army pocketknife of emergency services management as we are diverse with skills and expertise and work in very dynamic environments.”
SES community engagement officer Jennifer Pettit said some members had turned out despite their own home and businesses impacted.
Ms Mapstone said the unit was still positive and dedicated to responding to assist the community.
"We are focussing on what we need to do to keep the community safe,” she said.