SES ‘Women in Rescue’ event to be largest ever

SES ‘Women in Rescue’ event to be largest ever

15/04/2023, 9:00 AM

Female VICSES volunteers will come together today as part of the growing VICSES Women in Rescue (WIR) event, established for female volunteers, by female volunteers.

VICSES volunteer uses the new Pentheon battery-powered tool for road crash rescue, Saturday 15 April 2023

‘Women in Rescue’ is a targeted training event designed to celebrate women in emergency operations, to get hands on with the tools and equipment, share rescue skills and have fun in a safe and supportive environment.

VICSES Fawkner Unit volunteers demonstrate carry-out method, Saturday 15 April 2023

Founded in 2018, this year will be the largest WIR event yet, with eight locations across Victoria hosting the event simultaneously and a 93% increase in uptake this year - almost double the number of participants to last year’s event (2022).

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 WIR initiative first came about as the Sunbury Unit recognised the importance of encouraging more women into rescue operations. It’s designed to help modify training techniques to suit members with varying strengths and capabilities and empower women to showcase their skills.

VICSES volunteers demonstrate search and rescue techniques, Saturday 15 April 2023

The event also aims to promote gender inclusion and diversity within VICSES, and encourage recruitment and retention of female VICSES volunteers. Currently, 1,655 of all 4,893 VICSES’ volunteers are female (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 an Urban Search and Rescue scenario, using an open pit used to simulate the effects immediately after an earthquake.

The scenario will simulate a collapsed building, with the volunteers required to look for survivors and retrieve casualties. The women will be working in the rubble, crawling through difficult spots and hard to get to places.

VICSES volunteers demonstrate search and rescue techniques, Saturday 15 April 2023

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:

WIR events will run concurrently at the following locations:

  • Pakenham
  • Bangholme
  • Wangaratta
  • Gippsland
  • Huntly
  • Bellarine
  • Ballarat
  • Gembrook

VICSES volunteers attend a Women In Rescue event, Saturday 15 April 2023

Quotes attributable to VICSES CEO, Stephen Griffin:

“Today’s Women in Rescue events are a great opportunity for both experienced and newer members to come together and share their skills and knowledge in a supportive environment. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow female volunteers from across your region.”

"WIR aims to empower women to showcase their skills in contributing to the safety of our communities. It is critical that we reflect the communities we serve, and build the confidence and leadership among our women in orange.”

“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 Fawkner Unit Volunteer, Goldie Pergl:

“Women in Rescue is a fantastic event where women can come together to share skills and techniques in the rescue space. We can experiment with different techniques and handling of equipment, and share this back within our units”.

“Women in Rescue is another way for us to come together, and learn how best to serve the communities we are a part of.”

“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.