New home for our VICSES Emerald Unit volunteers

New home for our VICSES Emerald Unit volunteers

29/11/2021, 6:00 PM

Big congratulations are in order for our Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Emerald Unit volunteers who recently moved in to their brand new, state of the art facility as part of a $125m investment into facilities infrastructure for VICSES volunteers, made by the State Government.

Completed in November 2021, the facility was officially opened on Friday by The Hon James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier and State Member for Monbulk. The opening was also attended by Harriet Shing MP for Eastern Victoria Region,  Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp, VICSES CEO Stephen Griffin and VICSES Chief Officer of Operations Tim Wiebusch.

The delivery of the new unit is an advantage to the VICSES Emerald catchment area, which includes large parts of the Dandenong Ranges most affected by the severe storms in June.

Situated in the local government area of Cardinia Shire, substantial weather events and population growth has increased the demands on the 51 active volunteers at VICSES Emerald Unit, who are among the busiest in Victoria.

In 2020-21, the Unit was the state’s busiest VICSES Unit, and responded to 1,915 requests for assistance over the past six months following several severe weather events.

Over a ten-year period, the VICSES Emerald Unit has been the busiest Unit in the State, responding to 14,997 calls for help in total.

During the extreme weather event in June 2021, the VICSES Emerald unit responded to 777 calls for assistance in just five days, with a response vehicle destroyed during the event by a falling tree.

With four motor bays, Unit Controller’s Office, communications room, training room, turn out area and well-being space, the future-proofed facility reflects new ways of working in the emergency management sector with a focus on collaboration.

This means that volunteers can fit more vehicles in the motor bay, train members more easily; facilitate regional training and, most importantly, members will be able to have a hot shower and a warm meal during long operations.

The new facility right on the main street in the heart of Emerald, reflects VICSES' commitment and dedication to the local community and will enable an expansion of local services, supporting the retention and recruitment of new volunteers.

Quotes attributable to VICSES Emerald Unit Controller Ben Owen:

“The event was really great; we had a big turnout. Other agencies attended as well as members from other units. Catching up with past members and celebrating this purpose-built facility, was perhaps the best part of the day for me.”

“The new facility will be able to act as an Incident Control Point in its own right, coordinating other local units without relying on other community facilities, as was necessary at the old unit.”