2024 Emergency Services Medal - Sue Sheldrick

2024 Emergency Services Medal - Sue Sheldrick

25/01/2024, 10:00 PM


Congratulations to Mrs Susan Sheldrick ESM, our Emergency Services Medal recipient from the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), whose distinguished service has been recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours.

Awarded by the Governor-General, the Emergency Services Medal was instituted in 1999 to recognise distinguished service as a member of an Australian emergency service. It also recognises people who are involved in emergency management, training, or education.

During Sue’s 14 years as a Community Resilience Coordinator (CRC) with VICSES, she has demonstrated outstanding commitment in emergency management to VICSES operations, training, community education and engagement.

Her commitment to the provision of invaluable public information and community liaison work on the front line in major events, across Victoria and in New South Wales, included:

  • the Victorian flood events of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2022;
  • fire campaigns of 2003, 2006, 2009, 2019/20;
  • storm events of 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2021;
  • blue-green algae emergency in 2016; and
  • earthquakes in 2017, 2021, and 2022.

Concurrently, Sue undertook volunteer duties so she could fulfil more community engagement obligations - over and above what is required of a CRC.

Sue has been a leader in the training and coordination, as a facilitator, of the multi-agency Public Information Officer training suite (including warnings, media and community liaison), and the VICSES Community Engagement Facilitator course for more than 14 years.

Community engagement is an important function at VICSES. A community that is well prepared for flood, storms and other emergency situations, can reduce the impacts and lessen the consequences of an emergency, saving lives and property.

This is why Sue’s passion is to share her knowledge and experience in operational settings, to coach and mentor staff and volunteers as they support the community in preparedness, response, and recovery messaging during and after emergency events.

Sue works closely with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities and Joint Public Information Committees to ensure that, across the whole agency, our messaging is delivered in a consistent way.

Sue has been pivotal figure in cultural awareness training at VICSES and more broadly, throughout the sector. Much of the material we use today at VICSES, to support CALD and wider communities, was developed and enhanced by Sue, who has worked to develop and refine the material over several years.

Sue has been a go-to for community engagement and public information personnel around the state, providing ongoing leadership - and mentoring - for staff and volunteers entering the emergency management sector.

Sue has even been honoured before. As the first female Captain of a Country Fire Authority brigade, a street at a Victorian Emergency Training Centre has been named for her.

Sue’s will to show up for her community when needed is one of the strongest in the emergency management sector; the Victorian community is unquestionably safer for her tireless work.

Emergency Services Medal


The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon features a centre band of an orange and white checkerboard pattern, flanked on each outer edge by a royal blue band. 

The central motif of the Emergency Services Medal is a raised triangle  with bevelled edges, fringed by stylised sprays of wattle.

Inset in silver and bronze, the centre of the triangle features a raised impression of the Federation Star that is surrounded by twenty-four spheres, to represent the hours the day our emergency services are available.