08/03/2023 10:57 AM

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) today celebrated all its female members and the valuable contributions they make to the volunteer organisation.

Females in the NSW SES are represented across all levels of the Service and play an essential role in the organisation’s inclusive culture.

NSW SES Acting Commissioner Damien Johnston said there were more than 3,360 female SES volunteers across the State.

“The NSW SES proudly boasts females in all levels of leadership, as well as many frontline roles including chainsaw, flood rescue, storm response, vertical rescue, peer support, chaplaincy and logistics just to name a few,” he said.

Acting Commissioner Johnston said due to the devastating flood events of 2022, last year was the busiest on record for the NSW SES.

“The Service responded to more than 80,000 requests for assistance and conducted over 960 flood rescues. Female volunteers were at the forefront of both managing and responding to these incidents,” he said.

NSW SES has 70 female Unit Commanders across NSW, including Vivianne Fouracre of Moree. Over the past 12 years, she has responded to multiple major floods and other incidents in her community.

“Being a Unit Commander for the NSW SES is very challenging yet rewarding. It’s about being community minded and wanting to give back and helping others in their time of need,” she said.

Acting Commissioner Johnston said the NSW SES was well served by inspiring female leaders from a grassroots level to the very top of the organisation.

“Carlene York has been our Commissioner for the past four years and is the first female Commissioner of an emergency service in the history of NSW. The NSW SES also has several women in its senior leadership team at Assistant Commissioner and Director ranks,” he said.

“We recently recruited three female Zone Commanders including Metro Zone Commander Allison Flaxman, Western Zone Commander Brigid Rice and North Western Zone Commander, Tammy Shepley.

“These three remarkable women are leaders in emergency management and experts in responding to natural disasters.”

Metro Zone Commander Allison Flaxman said she was committed to positively contributing to the direction of the Service.

“My leadership style is one of trust, respect, collaboration, empowerment and inspiring confidence. I demonstrate these qualities in all my daily activities to build and support an inclusive culture,” she said.

Western Zone Commander Brigid Rice said being a leader with the NSW SES was a great privilege.

“I meet incredible people on a daily basis and the role has enabled me to witness the amazing contribution from our volunteers. To be a part of a command structure that assists our volunteers to do the job they do so incredibly well is truly an honour,” she said.

North Western Zone Commander Tammy Shepley said her role was to support the volunteers and communities build their resilience to flood events.

“Many areas in my Zone were impacted by the devastating flooding last year, and the recovery is only just beginning. I’m here to help communities to get back on their feet and prepare for future natural disasters,” she said.

The NSW SES is divided into seven Zones across NSW and is made up of over 10,000 volunteers.


NSW SES Zone Commanders (L TO R NSW SES Zone Commanders Tammy Shepley, Brigid Rice and Allison Flaxman

Vivianne Fouracre

Media enquiries: NSW SES Media 1800 067 234 or media@ses.nsw.gov.au

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