More than 40 State Emergency Service volunteers have answered the call to support police officers with COVID-19 duties in South Australia.
Police Minister, Vincent Tarzia said more than 80 SES volunteers had applied for the secondment, with 42 personnel secured to support SAPOL in COVID-19 operations over a five-month period.
Seventeen recruits completed their one-week induction course at SES Netley today, with a further 25 to begin training on Monday.
“SAPOL’s strength will increase with the addition of SES volunteers who will play a significant role in the community, performing COVID-19 compliance checks,” said Mr Tarzia.
“They will also assist SAPOL with Operation Nomad – a targeted strategy aimed to deter firebugs – when it launches next month,” he said.
“It is inspiring how quickly these volunteers responded to SAPOL’s call for assistance and is evidence South Australia continues its fight against COVID-19 as a united front.”
The induction course provides the SES volunteers with information about COVID-19 responsibilities, and refresher training on traffic management, infection control, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), radio communications and burnover drills.
SES Chief Officer, Chris Beattie said recruits would divide into six teams of seven people with a designated team leader at the conclusion of training.
“This is a fantastic example of agencies from the Emergency Services Sector working together to keep South Australia safe from COVID-19,” Mr Beattie said.
“Crews will be deployed to locations based on operational requirements and will mostly assist SAPOL in compliance checks as well as Operation Nomad. For the volunteers, this is a great opportunity to gain paid operational experience,” he said.
“This will not affect the SES’s ability to respond to emergencies. Volunteers will continue to react to callouts for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Recruits will carry out their duties on a three-week roster and begin each shift at the Netley depot.
The teams will use SES operational vehicles fitted with SES operational tablets, GRN radios, burnover kits and PPE for infection control.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the inclusion of SES into their operations would greatly assist SAPOL over the fire danger season.
“I’ve been hugely impressed by the commitment of SAPOL staff to the COVID response, but the inclusion of SES will allow some of our members to return to normal policing operations,” Commissioner Stevens said.
“Their assistance will boost our resources to ensure operations are safely, effectively and efficiently managed throughout the fire danger season and beyond.”