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The State Emergency Service (SES) is the name used by a number of volunteer organisations in Australia that provide assistance during and after major incidents, such as floods, storms, cyclones, and bushfires. The SES also assist in other emergencies, such as vertical and road crash rescues, missing persons searches, and medical evacuations. In other scenarios the SES may provide a support role to other agencies, particularly police and fire. The SES is operational 24 hours a day. The SES is constituted as separate organisations operating in the various Australian states and territories. Eight of the SES organisations co-ordinate through the Australian Council of State and Territory Emergency Services (ACSES).
During World War II the National Emergency Service was created on 1 February 1939 to provide air raid wardens.with the organisation disbanded six months after the end of the war.
The Civil Defence Service began in Australia in 1955. It was formed as a precaution to any potential attacks on Australian soil. The name was changed to the "State Emergency Service" (abbreviated to "SES") during the 1970s, to reflect a change of emphasis into providing emergency help related to floods, storms and other natural emergencies. Every state and territory in Australia has its own State (or Territory) Emergency Service, and there are 43,000 volunteers spread across the country. Each state or territory is broken into regions, then units, and finally groups or teams.
The SES is one of many public safety organisations using AIIMS (Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System). Typically, small incidents (AIIMS type 1) are assigned to a 'unit' and dealt with by a 'team'. AIIMS type 2 or 3 incidents are coordinated at the regional level.
The Queensland State Emergency Service was established in 1975, which evolved from the Queensland Civil Defence Organisation which commenced in 1961.
Each State Emergency Service has an Executive appointed by the Minister responsible for each state.
|Commissioner||Brigadier Mark Smethurst DSC, AM||New South Wales State Emergency Service|
|Chief Executive Officer||Stephen Griffin||Victoria State Emergency Service|
|Director||Andrew Lea, ESM||Tasmania State Emergency Service|
|Chief Officer||Chris Beattie||South Australian State Emergency Service|
|Chief Officer||Brigadier Georgeina Whelan, AM, CSC||Australian Capital Territory State Emergency Service|
|Director||Andrew Warton||Northern Territory Emergency Service|
|Assistant Director-General||Bruce Grady||Queensland State Emergency Service|
|Chief Operations Officer||Lloyd Bailey||Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services|
The SES provides assistance to local communities in times of need. Because every community is different, every SES Unit has a slightly different set of roles and activities. Depending on the needs of the local community, a Unit may perform only some or all of these roles:
|Agency Support (Operational)||Supporting other Emergency Services during incidents with lighting, human resources, marine transport, and other services.|
|Agency Support (Training)||Supporting other Emergency Services, agencies, and community organisations with member participation, resources, and welfare.|
|Air Observation - Search||Assisting in searches over land and sea from both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.|
|Air Observation - Intelligence||Gathering Flood Intelligence during events, emergency evacuation, remote area resupply, Reconnaissance of Flood and Storm effected areas.|
|Air Support Operations||Providing ground support for Emergency Aircraft Operations, notably the filling of water bomber aircraft during bushfire events.|
|Building Impact||Minor USAR operations caused by motor vehicles crashing into buildings. SES units provide shoring to these buildings and temporary building stabilisation.|
|Communication Support Unit||Provide communications support in difficult terrains. Install repeater radios and portable antennas. Co-ordinate other SES teams. Members are also trained to carry out the functions of other SES units.|
|Crowd and/or Traffic Control||Assisting police and ambulance at public events like ANZAC Day in this capacity. Also assisting police with road closures during events like flooding and New Year celebrations.|
|Emergency services liaison||Working with representatives of other emergency services during emergencies.|
|Evacuation Centre Management||Establishing and running temporary evacuation centres.|
|Fire Support & Training||Assisting the police and the rural and metropolitan fire services with road closures, evacuations, delivery of welfare during major fires, and some training like First Aid and Chainsaw Operations.|
|First Aid||Aiding members of the public requiring basic medical aid and assisting ambulance officers and members of St. John Ambulance of Australia with triage and mass casualty situations|
|Flood and storm preparation and response||Making temporary repairs and protecting property after floods and storms, helping people prepare for floods and storms and using specialised equipment like flood boats and chainsaws.|
|General rescue procedures and skills||Working safely to remove people from dangerous situations|
|Land Search||Searching for missing persons usually in both rural and suburban areas. Land search ranges from street based searches, to scrub and woodland areas as well as mountain rescue.|
|Management||Team which fill the administration roles at a unit level|
|Marine Rescue||Working with the Coast Guard and other marine organizations in assisting boats in distress|
|Media, public relations and community education||Working with the media and the public to communicate safety messages and warnings and to promote the SES to the community|
|Mines Rescue||Some SES units have specific training to allow them to rescue trapped persons from inside collapsed mines|
|Road-crash rescue||Providing mechanical intervention to crashed vehicles and extricating injured persons.|
|Swiftwater Rescue||Rescue/recovery of persons trapped in inland waterways or floodwater with skills applicable to fast-flowing water.|
|Training coordination||Helping to plan and carry out the training in a Unit. Nationally recognised subjects and courses are available to members.|
|Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)||Extending basic rescue techniques to situations such as collapsed or unstable structures, using specialised equipment such as after bombs or explosions|
|Vertical rescue||Rescuing people from heights and depths such as cliffs or ravines|
|Tsunami & earthquake response||Responding to and managing tsunami and earthquake events|
|Welfare||Providing and administrating temporary field bases for activations, including meals, peer support, teas & coffees etc. The SES also runs a "driver reviver" scheme that aims to reduce accidents caused by fatigued drivers.|
In addition to funds provided through legislation to the SES by state and local governments, SES groups also supplement their financial resources with donations made by individuals and businesses, and through other government grants. These donations typically contribute to purchasing or maintaining group equipment, such as vehicles and tools, or to improvement of SES property and facilities.
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