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Ladies’ day at Pykes

Photo - VICSES

VICSES’ female volunteers from across the Western Region have come together at Pykes Creek Reservoir in Myrniong, as part of the growing ‘Women in Rescue’ (WIR) event established for female volunteers, by female volunteers.

Women in Rescue is a targeted training event designed to celebrate women in emergency operations, to get hands on with the tools and equipment, share rescue skills and have fun in a safe and supportive environment.

Founded in 2018, this year’s event was the largest WIR event yet, with eight locations across Victoria hosting the event simultaneously and a 93 per cent increase in uptake this year – almost double the number of participants to last year’s event (2022).

The day focused on the hands-on, practical components of rescue operations. Specialised training scenario in Water and Land Search, Map and Navigation, Casualty Handling skills to cover the diverse capabilities that VICSES volunteers require during a range of different emergencies.

“Today’s Women in Rescue events are a great opportunity for both experienced and newer members to come together and share their skills and knowledge in a supportive environment. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow female volunteers from across your region,” VICSES CEO Stephen Griffin said.

“WIR aims to empower women to showcase their skills in contributing to the safety of our communities. It is critical that we reflect the communities we serve and build the confidence and leadership among our women in orange.”

VICSES Bacchus Marsh Unit Volunteer Jane Patton said it was fantastic to learn and train alongside other female members from across the Metro and Regional VICSES units.

“The training exercise today involved SES members from Bacchus Marsh, Footscray, Bellarine, Essendon, Sunbury, Gisborne, Bendigo, Ballarat, Ararat, and Warracknabeal,” she said.

“We all worked together with Senior Sergeant Jennifer Horgan from Bacchus Marsh Police and Cherie Graham from the Moorabool Shire Council Emergency Management Team. The day was a great success, and the weather was beautiful.”

The WIR initiative first came about as the Sunbury Unit recognised the importance of encouraging more women into rescue operations. It’s designed to help modify training techniques to suit members with varying strengths and capabilities and empower women to showcase their skills.

The event also aims to promote gender inclusion and diversity within VICSES and encourage recruitment and retention of female VICSES volunteers. Currently, 1,655 of all 4,893 VICSES’ volunteers are female (34 per cent), and VICSES would love to boost that figure to ensure we reflect the communities it serves.

VICSES has many amazing women within the service who contribute significantly to our organisation and their communities.

To volunteer with VICSES, or for further information on what it means to be a VICSES volunteer, visit: ses.vic.gov.au/join-us.