Volunteers step up

8/1/20 North Photography. SES Jarrod Bell at Sunbury SES HQ Pic Marco De Luca

By Jessica Micallef

With parts of Victoria battling devastating bushfires, local volunteers have stepped up to lend a hand.

Sunbury SES volunteer Jarrod Bell, spent five days during the new year period supporting fire operations in Omeo, East Gippsland.

He was among 20 Sunbury volunteers who made the journey to towns including Sale, Bairnsdale, Orbost, Omeo, Dinner Plain, Swifts Creek and Swan Reach during a four-week period.

“Largely our role has been rescue standby, effectively making sure these small communities, who are now stretched to their limits, have the ability to still provide that rescue coverage to not only the civilian communities but also the influx of firefighters,” Mr Bell said.

“Rescue coverage for our firefighters is paramount. The more jobs that we as SES volunteers can do that firefighters don’t need to be doing, means there are more firefighters to fight the fires.

“A good portion of our role is being there. We’ve had people establish relief centres. It’s about supporting the community and the fireys.”

Mr Bell said he is unsure of what lies ahead for himself and his crew.

“Our contribution [to the fire fight] isn’t going to slow down. It’s going to remain at a fairly active level.”