Biggest challenges as a volunteer?
Proving yourself early on! When I first joined I remember people assuming that holding a pair of cutters would be too heavy for me, but anyone can do the job.
I love learning. If you’d had asked me before I started with VICSES if I could ever have the sort of skills of capabilities that I do now, like cutting people out of car wrecks, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then to be able to share those learnings and develop others is something I love.
What opportunities are there for women at VICES?
VICSES gives some amazing opportunities. I’ve been fortunate enough to develop amazing friendships, and a skill base I could never imagine.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to assist with deployments to the recent bushfires and head to Mallacoota as part of a rescue support team, and a road rescue team to Canberra on the fire ground there. I’ve also been deployed to assist other VICSES units for major storms and other significant incidents.
I’ve travelled to multiple countries for road rescue competitions to represent VICSES and Australia.
The opportunities have always been there, but the barriers to reaching those opportunities over time have been broken down.
Your advice to women wanting to join VICSES or the emergency services sector
My advice would be to absolutely give it a go. If this is what you want to do, you can do it!
It gives you a great opportunity to build your confidence and capability in what we do. With the right mentoring and skills there’s no reason you couldn’t be leading your own unit one day, or leading crews on the ground or whatever you want to do.