SES Women in Rescue event doubles in size – largest ever

SES Women in Rescue event doubles in size – largest ever

15/03/2024, 2:02 PM
VICSES Women in Rescue event

Almost 250 female Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers will come together on Saturday 16 March at six events across the state, as part of the ever-growing VICSES Women in Rescue (WIR) event.

Established for female volunteers, by female volunteers, the event was founded in 2018. This year will be the largest WIR event yet, with six locations across Victoria hosting the event simultaneously and double the number of participants to last year’s event (2023).

The metropolitan event will be held in Bangholme, which will be host over 110 members, including for the first time ever, some of our female colleagues at the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

WIR is a targeted training event designed to celebrate women in emergency operations, to get hands on with the tools and equipment, share rescue skills, build confidence and have fun in a supportive environment.

The day will focus on the hands on, practical components of rescue operations. A variety of specialised training and exercises are set up to cover the diverse capabilities that VICSES volunteers require during a range of different emergencies.

The event also aims to promote gender inclusion and diversity within VICSES and encourage recruitment and retention of female VICSES volunteers. Currently, 1,652 of all 4,869 VICSES’ volunteers are female (almost 34%) and VICSES would love to boost that figure to ensure we reflect the communities we serve.

At the WIR event in Bangholme, the volunteers will be tackling various skills-based demonstrations, including a live Road Crash Rescue simulation, Urban Search and Rescue scenario, Mass Casualty handling, and a demonstration around our Safe Working at Heights skills.

This comes timely after a busy start to 2024, post several severe weather events, including the storms on February 13 where VICSES volunteers received thousands (over 7,000) incoming Requests for Assistance particularly regarding fallen trees over roofs or properties.

VICSES has many amazing women within the service who contribute significantly to our organisation and their communities.

To volunteer with VICSES, or for further information on what it means to be a VICSES volunteer, visit:

This year, WIR events will run at the following locations:

  • Geelong
  • Sale
  • Cobram
  • Bendigo
  • Bangholme, and
  • Myrniong (Grampians)

Quotes attributable to VICSES CEO, Greg Leach:

"We’ve managed to double our participant size this year, which is magnificent for our women attending, as well as women from other agencies – it’s fantastic we can provide these women with an environment to work together, train and learn from each other”.

“Women in Rescue is a fantastic event where women can come together to share skills and techniques in the rescue space. The aim of the event is to knowledge share, so the women can experiment with different techniques and handling of equipment and share this back within the agency and their fellow volunteers”.

“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 and training.”

Quotes attributable to VICSES Hobson’s Bay Unit Volunteer, Mel Smith:

“I’m just so happy we have an event like this, for likeminded women to come together and train and learn together – each year interest grows, and we see more women join us”.

“Initially, the WIR initiative first came about as the Sunbury Unit recognised the importance of encouraging more women into rescue operations”.

“It’s designed to help create a training environment to empower all members with varying strengths and capabilities to showcase their skills.”

“When we have our orange on, we all take on a wide variety of roles, including flood response, road crash rescue and searches for missing people. Women in Rescue has been a great way to consolidate those skills".

For more information, contact:

VICSES State Media Duty Officer Phone: 1300 783 933  Email: