SES volunteers strengthen SAPOL’s capability

Friday 23 October, 2020

More than 40 State Emergency Service volunteers have answered the call to support police officers with COVID-19 duties as the Marshall Liberal Government continues building on its plan to keep South Australia safe and strong.

More than 80 SES volunteers applied for the secondment with 42 personnel secured to support SAPOL in COVID-19 operations over a five-month period.

Today at the SES Netley depot, 17 volunteers will complete their one-week induction course. A further 25 recruits begin training on Monday October 26.

“The State Government continues to support SAPOL to bolster its capacity during this challenging period caused by COVID-19,” Minister Tarzia said.

“SAPOL’s strength will increase with the addition of SES volunteers who will play a significant role in the community, performing COVID-19 compliance checks. They will also assist SAPOL with Operation Nomad – a targeted strategy aimed to deter firebugs – when it launches next month.

“It is inspiring how quickly these volunteers responded to SAPOL’s call for assistance and is evidence South Australia continues its fight against COVID-19 as a united front.”

While SES volunteers are already highly trained, the induction course provides preparation for COVID-19 responsibilities, and refresher training on traffic management, infection control, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), radio communications and burnover drills.

SES Chief Officer Chris Beattie said recruits would divide into six teams of seven people with a designated team leader at the conclusion of training.

“This is a fantastic example of agencies from the Emergency Services Sector working together to keep South Australia safe from COVID-19,” Mr Beattie said.

“Crews will be deployed to locations based on operational requirements and will mostly assist SAPOL in compliance checks as well as Operation Nomad. For the volunteers, this is a great opportunity to gain paid operational experience.

“This will not affect the SES’s ability to respond to emergencies. Volunteers will continue to react to callouts for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Recruits will carry out their duties on a three-week roster and begin each shift at the Netley depot. The teams will use SES operational vehicles fitted with SES operational tablets, GRN radios, burnover kits and PPE for infection control.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the inclusion of SES into these operations will greatly assist SAPOL over the fire danger season.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the commitment of SAPOL staff to the COVID response, but the inclusion of SES will allow some of our members to return to normal policing operations,” Mr Stevens said.

“Their assistance will boost our resources to ensure operations are safely, effectively and efficiently managed throughout the fire danger season and beyond.”