MEDIA RELEASE: Thank you to our VICSES volunteers and their employers

MEDIA RELEASE: Thank you to our VICSES volunteers and their employers

02/07/2021, 3:12 PM

After a busy start to winter, the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) would like to extend a big thank you, to the employers of our wonderful volunteers who released their VICSES volunteer staff members from their work in order to respond to the huge influx of emergency calls last month.

As the control agency for storm in Victoria, VICSES responds to an average of 20,000 storm-related incidents and requests for assistance from the community across the state each year.

Since the beginning of the severe weather event in June 2021, VICSES volunteers were called to over 10,000 requests for assistance across the state, that’s more than half of the average amount received in a year.

Members of the VICSES Emerald Unit, Louise Draper and Jessica Rice are just two of the many VICSES volunteers granted emergency service leave from their respective employers.

Louise, a Risk and Compliance Consultant with Olympus Australia, was granted the paid time off to assist with the calls for help from her community members. Volunteering for often 12-14 hour days during the storm event, Louise was in charge of the distribution of essential items such as food and clean water to cut off communities.

Jessica, a COVID-19 Event Compliance Observer with Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions was also granted paid time off to assist her community.

During the weather event, Jess was in charge of the log of calls for help coming through. Her role was to triage each call and deploy relevant teams to assist. Working as a volunteer for 120 hours in one week, Jess also assisted with community welfare checks and equipment retrieval.

These are just two members with exceptional employers, who we thank endlessly. Without their support, our volunteers would not be able to do what they do and provide a vital service to community. Thank you for your commitment, with working as one.

For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, please visit

Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch

“I am so proud of our volunteers for all of their hard work and determination over the last month. But, their service to community would not be possible without the ongoing support of their employers.”

“Thank you to all of the employers who have supported our volunteers in helping to save lives”.

Quotes attributable to VICSES Emerald Deputy Unit Controller, Jessica Rice

“It’s so rewarding to be able to help my local community members and great to be part of this volunteer family, especially in times like this. The support my employer gives, for me to be able to do this, is incredible.”

“I wouldn’t be here without the positive attributes of my managers at work. At a moment’s notice, to be able to drop everything so that I am operationally ready to help others, is everything to me as it allows me to do my bit.”

Quotes attributable to VICSES Emerald Unit Volunteer, Louise Draper

“I am incredibly grateful to my employers. Without their support I would not be able to truly be me and part of this amazing community that I am privileged to serve.”

“It’s been a busy month, but knowing I have the backing to be able to continue to do what I do best, and help my community, has been the highlight for me and worth it all.”