'Women in Rescue' events showcase female VICSES talent

'Women in Rescue' events showcase female VICSES talent

23/5/21, 11:08 pm

A special VICSES event that began in Melbourne's outer north has expanded to various corners of the state, with female members able to showcase their hands-on equipment skills.

A number of 'Women in Rescue' events took place over the weekend, with volunteers displaying their training in casualty handling, battery lighting, and road rescue techniques - including work  on a static, resting car, and the stabilisation of a rolled vehicle.

The annual displays, pioneered by volunteers at the Sunbury unit, are now a much broader opportunity to see the capable, confident skills of female members in Victoria.

“VICSES volunteers take on a variety of roles, including flood or road crash rescue, operations, and searches for missing people. ‘Women in Rescue’ started because we wanted to show that women are part of all of it, and can use some pretty heavy duty tools," Sunbury unit volunteer Angela Lane.

"Our women in orange are capable, resourceful, and highly skilled – and might even save your life one day.”

A primary motivation behind VICSES 'Women in Rescue' events has been help to address the agency's gender balance. This is being done by:

•    Building women’s confidence in all roles associated with a rescue
•    Increasing familiarity with rescue tools through more 'hands on tools' time
•    Providing a positive, welcoming and challenging learning environment
•    Expanding leadership capacity and networking opportunities of women in emergency services.

Both the Torquay and Sunbury unit hosted events on Saturday, 17 April, with several more in rural locations. Our women in orange have been excited to get the word out.

“A lot of people think that only men use heavy-duty tools, drive SES trucks, or cut people out of vehicles – but that isn’t true. We have a growing contingent of women in the south west that tackle all the hands-on duties," said Torquay unit controller Rachel Vella.

“Our female first responders at VICSES are incredible, and attend highly complex, challenging incidents. Our Women in Rescue event showcases their life-saving skills, using the latest rescue technology."

Deputy Chief Officer Alistair Drayton has mirrored these statements, and says he is looking forward to seeing more female members rise through the ranks.

“It is brilliant to see our female VICSES leaders continue to showcase their skills through the ‘women in rescue’ event. The initiative started in Sunbury three years ago, and has since expanded across Victoria," he said.

"As an agency, VICSES is committed to being an inclusive organisation. It is critical that we reflect the communities we serve, and build the confidence and leadership among our women in orange.”

Images: VICSES