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NSW SES ‘orange army’ to get a boost from officers in blue

Published date: Tuesday, 18 December 2018


Correctional staff will soon be stepping out from prisons and parole offices to keep the community safe by assisting the NSW State Emergency Service during flood and storm emergencies.

Corrective Services NSW has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW SES, which will encourage custodial and Community Corrections officers to sign up as volunteers to help during natural disasters and emergencies.

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said this was the first time a government agency had entered into an agreement with the NSW SES under their new flexible volunteering model.

“This is a great opportunity for prison officers, Community Corrections officers, overseers and other staff to bolster the volunteer numbers of the NSW SES ‘orange army’, which provides great assistance to our communities in times of need,” Mr Severin said.

“Correctional staff already have experience in challenging situations and possess important skills and qualifications like first aid, which are also strengths valued by the NSW SES.

“They help keep our community safe by reducing reoffending, so this partnership will allow them to further assist their local areas.

“We already have staff who are volunteers and we hope this agreement will encourage others to take up the opportunity.”

Training for NSW SES volunteers covers a wide range of areas, including operational response, storm damage, land searches, road crash rescues, and also incident-management roles, logistics and community engagement.

NSW SES Commissioner Mark Smethurst said the MOU with CSNSW was another example of building broader, mutually beneficial relationships across the community.

“We recognise that there are people in the community who have skills and a passion to help during emergencies, and we are looking at ways to embrace this expertise, enhance their skills and bring them on board to join our team,” Commissioner Smethurst said.

Correctional Officer Tahlia Paludetto, who has been a NSW SES volunteer since January 2016, said it felt good to improve someone’s day by providing them with assistance.

“If you have a lot to give and want to make a small difference in the world, volunteering with the NSW SES is definitely a way to go because the skills you learn can take you a long way in life,” Ms Paludetto said.

Ms Paludetto has already assisted with the removal of fallen trees after storms, traffic control and land searches.
If you are interested in volunteering with the NSW SES, please go to www.ses.nsw.gov.au/get-involved/volunteer/ or call 1800 201 000.