Thank You NSW SES Volunteers

18/05/2020 07:33 AM

National Volunteer Week being is being celebrated across the country this week.

The NSW SES wants to thank all the amazing NSW SES volunteers who give so tirelessly to their local community in times of disaster.  This year, more than any, we also want to say a special thanks to our NSW SES volunteers who are also essential frontline staff responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet Andrew Bennett

For the past eight years Andrew has dedicated himself to frontline emergency services – working and training all over the world.  He currently works for NSW Ambulance as well as being a NSW SES volunteer.

Andrew volunteers with the both the NSW SES Blue Mountains and Penrith Units. He recently joined his local Bush Search and Rescue Unit as well. 

“I live in the beautiful Blue Mountains which attracts bushwalkers from all over the world, which also means unfortunately some of those bushwalkers get into trouble and when they do, the NSW SES is there to help them. Our unit is often requested to assist NSW Police with searching for missing bushwalkers. As a NSW SES volunteer I am also trained in vertical recue, which involves searching near cliffs for people who may have gotten into trouble and can be terribly injured,” said Mr Bennett.

“What I enjoy most about volunteering with the NSW SES is being able to learn practical skills which I can put to good use, and which can really help people in life critical situations.”

During the severe storms which impacted wide parts of eastern New South Wales in February 2020, in one day Andrew went from saving lives as an Ambulance Officer to saving even more lives as one of the NSW SES elite Flood Rescue Operators. 

“I finished my shift as an Ambulance Officer, swapped into my SES wetsuit and spent the night rescuing people from flooded cars,” said Mr Bennett.

The skills Andrew has developed as an NSW SES volunteer have assisted him in his career with NSW Ambulance. During the last few years travelling the world, Andrew has continued to develop his skills as an Ambulance Officer, which have been transferable to his role as an NSW SES volunteer.

“During my training as an Ambulance Officer I had the opportunity to live and work in South Africa and Mexico where I saw firsthand trauma and mass casualties. I’ve also had eight trips to the United States of America where I was fortunate enough to train with elite emergency services agencies.

“For the past year I have been back in Australia working as an Ambulance Officer where I have been able to use the skills I have acquired over the last few years with both my Ambulance Officer training and my role with the NSW SES.”

Being an Ambulance Officer during the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Andrew from volunteering with the NSW SES.

“Being an Ambulance Officer right now during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant adapting to a lot of changes in the way in the way in which we respond to jobs. The main thing I want is for our patients and for ourselves as frontline emergency services to all stay safe.” 

Meet Lisa Siladyi

Lisa has been a NSW SES volunteer for the last two and a half years and a Registered Nurse for 19 years. She currently works at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and volunteers with the NSW SES Metro Zone Capability Unit and The Hills Unit.     

“I joined the NSW SES as I wanted to give back to the community which has given so much to me. Helping people in the community when they have been touched by disaster, when they are experiencing their worst day due to a flood, storm, or illness is something that I wanted to help people through,” said Ms Siladyi.

“Part of my role at The Children’s Hospital Westmead is to manage disasters and I thought I could learn new skills which could be transferable to both roles.”

Currently Lisa is managing the COVID-19 Assessment Clinic at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.

“It has been quite busy at the COVID-19 Assessment Clinic where we have been testing children and their families for the virus. I’ve been heartened that the community has been following the self-isolation measures which has meant we have seen testing numbers decrease at the moment.

“The days have been long and the clinic will continue to operate as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” said Ms Siladyi.

It has been quite the year for Lisa so far, volunteering her time with NSW SES to assist the NSW RFS with the bushfire efforts, responding to storm jobs during the severe weather experienced across Sydney in February 2020 and now working on the frontline fighting the COVID-19 pandemic…and she just turned 40 during isolation.

“I have two young sons who are really proud when they see me get in my orange SES uniform. Another reason I decided to volunteer with the NSW SES is that I wanted to teach my sons it’s what you can give to others which is what is really important in life,” continued Ms Siladyi.

It’s safe to say Lisa has definitely taught her sons that this past year.

NSW SES volunteers come from all walks of life, bringing with them many different skills, interests and backgrounds. They are united by the purpose of supporting their communities in times of need.

There are four ways to volunteer with NSW SES, learn more Volunteering

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