VICSES women showcase rescue capability

VICSES women showcase rescue capability

19/03/2022, 9:51 AM

VICSES has expanded its Women in Rescue (WIR) event which will run as a state-wide affair for the first time today.

Women in Rescue (WIR) is a training event designed to celebrate women in the operational space; get hands on with the tools and equipment; share rescue skills and, most importantly, have fun.

Founded in 2018 by our volunteers, 2022 will be the biggest WIR event yet with eight locations across the State, hosting a variety of specialised training and exercises to showcase the diverse capabilities VICSES volunteers rely on during emergencies.

For the first time ever, female SES volunteers will soon have access to brand new, custom-made and fit-for-purpose female Personal Protective Clothing (PPC), thanks to a funding from our Principle Community Partner, AAMI.

Initial orders of the interim female clothing will be delivered to VICSES volunteers from April onwards, with samples on display at VICSES Sunbury Unit today.

The VICSES Sunbury Unit will play host to casualty handling, domestic rescue workshops, and the latest in Road Crash Rescue (RCR) techniques - including working on a static, resting car, and the stabilisation of a rolled vehicle.

For this demonstration our volunteers will be learning RCR techniques, using a mix of traditional RCR equipment and our newly acquired battery-powered extrication equipment housed at the unit (Holmatro Pentheon Series).

Lighter and more compact in design, these tools are some of the first battery-powered rescue tools in the country and are easier to manage and operate during a live road rescue.

Established by volunteers, for volunteers, the WIR initiative first came about as the VICSES Sunbury Unit recognised the importance of acknowledging and encouraging the women who perform operational work.

At WIR, modified training techniques are used to suit all members with varying strengths and capabilities; to empower women to showcase their skills, and contribute to the safety of our communities.

The event also aims to promote gender inclusion and diversity within VICSES, and encourage recruitment and retention of female VICSES volunteers. Presently, 33% of current VICSES members are female, and 70% of units now have a female represented on the Unit Leadership Team (either as the Controller or one of the Deputies).

VICSES has many amazing women within the agency who contribute significantly to our organisation, and to their communities; the WIR events today highlight this further still.

If you would like to volunteer with VICSES, or would like further information on what it means to be a VICSES volunteer, visit: www.ses.vic.gov.au/join-us

Events will run concurrently at the following locations:

  • Sunbury
  • Bangholme
  • Benalla
  • Stawell
  • Lake Eildon
  • Huntly
  • Sale
  • Drysdale (near Bellarine)

Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Operations, Tim Wiebusch:

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

“Today’s Women in Rescue events are a great opportunity for both experienced, and newer members to come together, share their knowledge and pick up new techniques. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow VICSES members from across their region.”

“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.”

Quotes attributable to VICSES Sunbury Unit Volunteer, Angela Lane:

“Women in Rescue is a fantastic space where women can come together to share skills and techniques in the rescue space, experiment with different techniques and handling of equipment, and share this vital information back to their units for the benefit of all.”

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

“Our units and volunteers should represent the communities we serve, from the diversity in our education to our ethnicity and skills we bring to our volunteer role. Women in Rescue is another way for us to come together, and learn how best to serve the communities we are a part of.”