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Rochester’s SES recruiting drive

Call to arms: An information evening for the Rochester SES unit will be held on Wednesday, July 6. Among the experienced members of the unit are Lindsey Macague, Glenn Major, Judith Gledhill and Tim Williams.

Rochester SES’s modern new Victoria St headquarters will go on public display next week when the unit conducts an information evening to promote its role in the community and attract new volunteers.

The Rochester SES station was upgraded in December and now includes a larger training area, a refurbished administrative area and completely new furnishings.

The Wednesday, July 6, information night will be held at 7.30pm at the 5 Victoria St location.

It will give the community a first-hand look at the completely rebuilt building, which SES Controller Peter Werner hopes will act as an incentive for people to become involved with the emergency service organisation.

Rochester’s Campaspe River flood of 2011 is among the headline acts the SES has performed for its community, its position alongside several major roads also ensuring regular attendances at major accident events.

SES members from Rochester have been involved in several interstate storm and fire support programs, but the demand is wearing on the dozen-strong membership of the unit.

Membership is low for several reasons, among those the lacklustre return of the community from COVID-19 living conditions and maybe a misunderstanding of the roles played by volunteers.

Mr Werner said the club had up to 18 active members recently, with several of those in support, rather than operational in the “field”.

“Our volunteers have to be over the age of 18 to go out on a job, which limits our recruiting field,” Mr Werner said.

“And because we need to be available for day-time response, people who live in Rochester but work outside of town also impact on membership.”

There are four SES units in the Campaspe Shire, but neither the Echuca and Kyabram units respond to road crashes.

“Rushworth and Rochester do the crashes. Our response area is halfway to Echuca, across to Kyabram, down to Toolleen, and further afield to Pyramid Hill,” he said.

“It is a very large area to cover.”

While low on quantity, Rochester SES’s membership boasts a very experienced core group.

“Being involved in emergency services provides valuable life skills for people wanting to volunteer,” Mr Werner said.

“The July 6 information night will further explain those benefits.”

The state-funded operation had $160,000 spent on the station renovations in December, its first renovation since the SES was launched.

Rochester SES has three trucks and the most modern equipment available for its emegerncy service commitments.

It conducts training sessions every Wednesday at 7pm, where it covers topics such as storm damage training (with a strong focus on what to do in the event of a tree falling), road crash rescue, rooftop safety, roof repairs and urban rescue, such as building collapses.

For more information, phone Peter Werner on 0438 882 370.