It is a week for West Australian’s to recognise the hard work of the State Emergency Service (SES). Held nationally in early November, these are the dates that WA hold it. Just like the Queen’s Birthday, we’re a little bit different over here =)
SES Week aims to raise awareness about the important role SES volunteers’ play in the community and acknowledge the many families, friends and employers who support SES volunteers. Because almost the entire State Emergency Service is made up of volunteers. Those dedicated folks who climb up on your roof after a storm to stop your home from filling with water, who spend days out in the middle of nowhere searching for your lost loved ones, & who generally help out their communities in times of need – they’re volunteering & donating their time. Just to help.
The week includes Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW) when the people of WA are encouraged to wear orange to show their support for the SES. To work. To the park. To the shops. Even just around the house! Orange is the international colour for rescue services. Not only does absolutely nothing rhyme with it, it’s also really easy to recognise in most emergencies, including in bushland, forests and in the desert, as well as in building collapses.
You may have seen this on the news, or heard about it on the radio on Wednesday.
You might have wandered past & wondered what all the fuss was about before looking up & seeing orange.
On Wednesday 13th November, SES volunteers from WA (some of whom had travelled down from Canarvan especially for the event) who are trained in Vertical Rescue, abseiled down 24 stories at the Enex100 building on St Georges Terrace as part of saying thanks & raising awareness of what they do. Members came from units including Stirling, Wanneroo-Joondalup, Armadale, Bayswater, Canarvon, DFES Operations, & Canning-South Perth.
The display was brilliant & the special guests they guided down the lower 4 floors (most of whom had never abseiled) loved it too, though some of them swore never again. Lisa from 6PR & Jillian from WA Today both have their experiences online – don’t worry, they censor-beeped out the parts you don’t want your kids to hear! After these guided abseils, the SES team demonstrated a Single Rope Rescue on another member (operation “Luke Got Stuck”), before going back up to the 24th floor to access the roof & drop 90m for the fun of it.
Glass is a totally different surface to work with. Not only is it far more slippery than rock face or cement, it flexes underfoot. And the people who work behind that glass are very likely watching you pass them, on what they feel is very much the wrong side of it. Plus it was rather windy up there that morning!
24 floors, 7 ropes & a lot of very happy SES members.