Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Berrigan Shires's new SES controller

After two years as a volunteer Justin Greatorex (pictured) has been appointed Berrigan Shire State Emergency Service local controller.

December 14, 2012 4:16am

When not volunteering the 40-year-old works as Murray Goulburn production supervisor in Cobram.

‘‘I was appointed by Bernard Kates who is SES NSW regional controller for the Murray Region,’’ Mr Greatorex said.

The SES has 28 volunteers with the youngest only 20 and the eldest 71 years old and a good mix of males and females.

The service says there are jobs for everyone’s level of fitness and through volunteering new things are always learnt.

After an incident the team has a debriefing session where they reflect and discuss things that went well, things that didn’t and what could be improved on.

‘‘I want to be out in the field as much as possible,’’ Mr Greatorex said.

‘‘But now my role is more organisational - more the logistical side.

‘‘My job is to figure out what resources we have and what we will require to make sure we are prepared for any event.

‘‘The floods took up a lot of our time early on this year. I have learnt to be patient – as there’s a lot to learn as an SES volunteer.’’

What Mr Greatorex enjoys most about being an SES volunteer is the satisfaction of helping people in times of need and learning new skills, which can be used in everyday life.

‘‘The most challenging situation is probably the fatality side of it,’’ he said.

‘‘But there is a lot of support like the support I got after attending my first fatality was fantastic.’’

The support he was referring to was the six calls from other SES volunteers the day after his first fatality incident to ensure he was okay.

When the weather starts to warm up the rivers are one of the volunteer’s main concerns, as they can be called upon by the Country Fire Authority to assist in warning campers of the imminent danger of fires, by using their boating resources on the river. The majority of call outs are caused by storm damage, trees falling down from high winds and floods.

~ By Siobhan Jackson and Randall Johnston

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