HELP IS NEEDED: South Burnett SES Local Area Controller Arthur Dawson.
HELP IS NEEDED: South Burnett SES Local Area Controller Arthur Dawson. Matt Collins

'It can be confronting': SES leader calls for new troops

AFTER 28 years, South Burnett SES Local Area Controller Arthur Dawson has had his fair share of both rewarding and upsetting experiences.

The South Burnett SES leader first volunteered in 1992 and had to deal with a life-threatening situation only six short weeks later.

"We were called out for a land search,” Mr Dawson said.

"A missing person had gone out the day before and they hadn't returned.”

Thankfully that person was found. But not every situation had a happy ending.

"It can be confronting,” Mr Dawson said.

"Especially assisting police, fire or ambulance where people have been injured or killed.”

And when the hardworking folk in orange uniforms undertake a search for a missing person, it is crucial not to get the public's hopes up.

"We always say, 'We don't go out to find the person, we go out to search for the person,” Mr Dawson said.

State Emergency Service volunteers put themselves on the front line in emergencies and natural disasters.

They can be sent across the country offer assistance and support.

"We can deploy them to any part of Australia after a major incident,” Mr Dawson said.

Mr Dawson said it was always fun to visit the region's schools and chat with students about what the SES does.

"The questions from the kids are just awesome,” he said.

"One of them was, 'Why do we have an orange uniform?'

A question for which the local area controller could not answer.

"I have no idea,” he said.

"But it seems to be the universal colour for emergency response to critical incidents.”

Mr Dawson encouraged anyone thinking of getting involved with the SES to take the next step and pick up the phone.

Regardless of age or level of fitness, people from all walks of life are invited to join the State Emergency Service.

There are no joining fees and education and training programs are provided free of charge.

Volunteers are provided with protective clothing and relevant equipment based for their role within an SES group.

If you are injured in any way while on an approved SES activation or at training, you will be fully covered by workers compensation.

There are six groups located in the South Burnett council area: Kingaroy, Nanango, Blackbutt, Murgon, Proston and Wondai.

Regular training is held on a Monday evening.

To volunteer, or more information, call 3635 1890.