Women in rescue on the rise

March 24, 2024 BY

Orange power: The recent Women in Rescue event had twice as many attendees as last year. Photo: SUPPLIED

AN EVENT established for female volunteers, by female volunteers has been a huge success, run in six locations including the Moorabool Shire.

Founded in 2018, this year’s VICSES Women in Rescue (WIR) event saw female SES volunteers from all over the Grampians Region come together at Pykes Creek Reservoir last Sunday.

The event saw the largest uptake yet, with double the attendees to 2023’s meeting.

Sixty-seven women were involved, from the SES, to Victoria Police, CFA, St John’s Ambulance, Bacchus Marsh Girl Guides, Moorabool Shire Council, and support crews.

The event focused on the hands-on, practical component of rescue operations, with a range of specialised training and exercises set up to cover the diverse capabilities SES volunteers require to deal with different emergencies.

It was also held with an aim to promote gender inclusion and diversity within the SES and encourage recruitment and retention of female VICSES volunteers.

Currently, almost 34 per cent of VICSES volunteers are female, which is 1652 of the 4869 grassroots members across the state.

VICSES CEO, Greg Leach, said it was fantastic to see so many people engaged in the initiative.

“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 members with an environment to work together, train and learn from each other,” he said.

“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.”

Bacchus Marsh Unit Volunteer, Jane Patton, said the event was all about empowering women and sharing learning and their experiences.

“Women in Rescue is designed to help modify training techniques to suit members with varying strengths and capabilities and empower women to showcase their skills,” she said.

“When we have our orange on, we all take on a wide variety of roles, including flood and storm response, road crash rescue and searches for missing people.

“Women in Rescue has been a great way to consolidate those skills.”

VICSES members said they are keen to boost the number of female volunteers among their ranks. For more information, visit ses.vic.gov.au/join-us.