With Australia still recovering from the summer bushfires and grappling with the impact of COVID-19, National Volunteer Week (18-24 May 2020) is a timely reminder for Australians to celebrate the essential role the State Emergency Service (SES) and its volunteers play in the local community.

To help make the lives of local volunteers safer and easier, AVID Property Group (AVID) has this week officially announced its support of the Maroochydore SES as a part of its 2019/2020 Community Sponsorship and Grants Program.

The Maroochydore SES and its volunteers are one of two SES groups on the Sunshine Coast providing vital support to Sunshine Coast residents before, during and after natural disasters and emergencies like storms and bushfires.

Maroochydore SES Training Officer Don Patterson said despite the SES receiving state funding they are heavily reliant on other donations.

“We currently have 64 volunteers here at Maroochydore who meet weekly to train, learn how to use the equipment, as well as practice essential skills like sandbagging,” Mr Patterson said.

“The state funding doesn’t cover all the equipment we need, and we rely on different community sponsorships and grants to purchase this additional rescue and training equipment.”

The grant from AVID went towards the purchase of hydraulic ladder loaders for two SES emergency response vehicles to help make emergency callouts easier and safer for volunteers.

“The weight of the ladders, about 25 to 30 kilograms, poses an occupational health and safety issue for us, so we are using the grant to purchase ladder loaders – a hydraulic device that allows the ladder to be raised easily on to the top of the vehicle – for two of our response vehicles,”  Mr Patterson said.

“We use ladders for 90 per cent of our callouts so having the ladder loaders will be a great enhancement for our capability.

“The ladders we use are made from fibreglass and range from about $1,000 to $1,500, so it can be quite costly if they are dropped, as well as a safety hazard for our volunteers.

“The loaders help us put the ladders on and off the vehicles easily, safely and quickly when we are called in for emergency events – enhancing our ability to carry out our job.”

AVID Property Group General Manager Queensland Bruce Harper said AVID was excited to put its support behind the SES and its volunteers while celebrating the incredible contribution they make every day.

“Every Queenslander knows the impact the SES have on our communities – they are there when we need them to help us through storms, fires and what can seem like the darkest of days,” Mr Harper said.

“With everything going on at the moment, it is more important than ever that we recognise and celebrate the incredible efforts of our local SES volunteers this National Volunteer Week.

“We are proud to be able to award this grant to the Maroochydore SES to help to make their job safer and more efficient moving forward.”

For more information on the Maroochydore State Emergency Service (SES) and how to get involved, visit www.facebook.com/MaroochydoreStateEmergencyService.