THE State Emergency Service (SES) has put out an urgent call for help to find five leaders for Riverina units.
Controllers are the lynch pin of the volunteer-staffed organisation – it’s more than just responding to floods or storm damage, it’s also bringing in new volunteers, organising training and liaising with other emergency service operators.
The SES is looking for controllers in Wagga, Leeton, Cootamundra, Temora and Coleambally.
A string of retirements and illness has meant the organisation is looking to fill the positions.
“Controllers are responsible for providing the services to the community,” Murrumbidgee SES regional controller David Buchtmann said.
Mr Buchtmann said it was significant commitment but was at times an incredibly rewarding position.
Further government funding and support has meant the SES no longer have to rattle the tin to raise funds for more equipment but as a result Mr Buchtmann said expectations from the community had changed.
As a controller, it’s more than just being able to throw a tarp on a roof or rescue someone from the river.
Mr Buchtmann said he was looking for people who could lead a team of many talents while developing their skills and working with other government agencies.
“The ultimate responsibility is making sure members get home as they turned up,” Mr Buchtmann said.
“It can be a launch pad for other careers in emergency management,” he said.
For former Tumut controller and now deputy region controller Jon Gregory, the best thing about leading a SES unit was making a difference in people’s lives.
“You enter people’s lives when they’re most vulnerable … you go and make a difference to what the final outcome might be,” Mr Gregory said.
The toughest part was keeping volunteers safe during challenging conditions.
“It’s a professional emergency service staffed by volunteers,” Mr Gregory said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.