VICSES Media Release: Busiest month on record for VICSES Volunteers

VICSES Media Release: Busiest month on record for VICSES Volunteers

02/11/2022, 11:29 AM

October 2022 has been the busiest month in history for the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), with volunteers responding to a staggering 13, 705 RFA’s (requests for assistance). 

It’s almost a 28 percent increase on the previous record of 10,740 requests, set in June 2021.  

SES volunteers have been tirelessly working to provide emergency assistance during October’s significant and extensive flooding rains, storms, and destructive winds. 

The busiest volunteer units during October have included: Shepparton and Tatura (over 1,600) Echuca (650 RFAs), Bendigo (482), Rochester (462) and Kerang (232). 

It follows two of the three busiest years on record for VICSES with 2020-21 the busiest financial year in the organisation’s history which included the response to the June 2021 storm.  

VICSES Chief Officer, Operations, Tim Wiebusch says he’s incredibly proud of the resilience and dedication of the five thousand SES volunteers across Victoria. 

Victorians are incredibly grateful for the effort and commitment of both local and deployed SES volunteers during this record-breaking month. The role of their employers and families who enable our volunteers to respond to emergencies is also invaluable. 

Victoria SES operates 150 units across six regions. Rochester Unit Controller, Tim Williams, says in his years living in the region, he has never encountered anything like it. Tim and his team kept working to ensure the safety of others while knowing that his own property was at risk. 

The record-breaking month is a timely reminder for Victorians to download the VicEmergency app for warning and advice messaging and check the VicTraffic mobile app or website before travelling for updates on road closures, hazards and to consider alternative journeys. 

A reminder if you need VICSES emergency assistance, ring 132 500 or Triple-zero (000) in a life-threatening emergency. 

Quotes attributable to Tim Wiebusch, VICSES Chief Officer Operations:

“It’s been an incredibly busy month for our VICSES volunteers responding to multiple severe weather events and I’m really proud of the work our VICSES volunteers have undertaken and continue to do to assist so many community members with great support from our partner agencies.” 

Quotes attributable to Tim Williams, volunteer at the VICSES Rochester Unit:

“Rochester has never experienced flooding like this, where there was not one dry street. Even our unit flooded, on the night of Friday 7th. Our Unit has responded to 350 requests for assistance from the community since the start of this weather event (0700hrs, 12th October 2022), including 204 floodwater rescues.” 

“My home was flooded, as were several colleagues, and many of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers we were working with. We just moved forward with the work and tried not to think about what was happening at home. We were evacuating people, so that’s where our attention needed to be. The spirit of the community has been extraordinary; volunteering their time and resources, and making things happen.”