It’s been another busy year for NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers, with more than 24,800 incidents responded to by dedicated members in orange.
Over 4,200 of those incidents were recorded in December, as volunteers gave up their Christmas holidays to help with the response to severe weather across much of NSW. In the final month of the year, the NSW SES responded to 46 flood rescues and 5,300 calls were made to the State Operations Centre.
In 2023, volunteers completed 197 flood rescues, 617 road crash rescues, 231 general land searches, 773 general land rescues and 1,100 tasks supporting the NSW Rural Fire Service with bushfire response, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries with varroa mite mitigation.
The busiest month was February, with 5,100 incidents, and the busiest day was February 9 after severe weather impacted Metropolitan Sydney, the Illawarra and South Coast.
In a 24-hour period on February 9, NSW SES volunteers worked through 1,315 incidents, including 64 flood rescues.
Not only have NSW SES volunteers been busy on the frontline responding to unfolding emergency incidents, 2,100 have undertaken flood rescue training to enhance their capabilities.
More than 105 volunteers have trained to become “in-water” flood rescue operators, while a further 259 completed land-based flood rescue training.
The number of qualified “on-water” flood rescue operators also increased, with 254 volunteers completing their training.
Additionally, NSW SES trainers with considerable experience in boat operations and flood rescue capability have trained 130 personnel from our partner emergency services.
Throughout the year, the highly skilled trainers and assessors at the NSW SES have also passed on their knowledge and skills to partner emergency services, including; NSW Ambulance, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, NSW Fire and Rescue, Volunteer Rescue Association, Marine Rescue and Surf Life Saving NSW.
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM thanked volunteers for their endless committment to helping their communities throughout the year.
“Our hard-working NSW SES members have worked tirelessly at all times of day and night this year to assist their communities through emergencies,” Commissioner York said.
“Not only have our volunteers served their own communities, they’ve been deployed to South East Queensland this week, and internationally earlier this year to assist Canada with the wildfire emergency.”
Commissioner York said while there hadn’t been the campaign flooding events of previous years, the NSW SES was busy with flood and storm response in 2023.
“This month has been particularly busy and volunteers have given up their Christmas holidays to help with flood and storm response across the state,” Commissioner York said.
“In November, our members were kept busy responding to flood rescues, thousands of storm damage calls and flooding in Lake Conjola and Deniliquin.
“Throughout February, we had our busiest month of the year with severe weather resulting in 5100 incidents being tasked to our volunteers.”
NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Training and Capability Daniel Austin said the service had worked hard to boost flood rescue capabilities even further this year.
“More than 2100 NSW SES volunteers have upskilled in the suite of flood rescue training courses. We have also trained members in our other rescue capabilities such as general land rescue, road crash rescue, large animal rescue or vertical rescue,” Deputy Commissioner Austin said.
“As the lead agency for flood rescue in NSW, the NSW SES providing a high standard of training to our emergency service partners is key for the safety of our personnel and the community.”
For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500. In life threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.