Unit's history can been traced back to 1953 making it one of the longest, continuous serving units assisting the community for some 56 years.
The lifeblood of any SES unit is its volunteer members and we understand that through work and family commitments as well as ongoing time restraints, that this is a transient population so volunteer recruitment is a continuous programme. Currently Chelsea SES has an active membership of approx 50 members at various stages from initial training to fully accredited, operational members.
The role of the SES has seen a number of changes over the past 5 years, some very positive and some not so. On the positive side, the level of training and equipment available to members has seen constant improvement with many more specialist courses available. These incorporate lifting the levels of competency of our members but also measures to ensure that every operational member has the equipment and knowledge to complete tasks in a professional and safe way. The less positive side sadly has been the increasing number of jobs to assist VICPOL to protect crime scenes at violent crimes and the wasted lives from road accidents and incidents connected to the railway lines. We cannot choose the type of jobs we are called on to attend; we can simply do the very best job we can when called on to do them.
Another area of work that is ongoing for Chelsea SES is fundraising. Through the generosity of Council, Chelsea SES receives yearly funding and this is topped up in a number of ways by the members themselves. Tin shakes at PR events, major involvement in Ritchies Supa IGA Community Benefits Scheme including an annual sign up day at Aspendale Gardens Shopping Centre to ensure a steady pattern of growth by signing more and more people to make Chelsea SES their beneficiary and of course tax deductible donations from members of the community.
Every operational member of every SES unit understands that they are in a position where at any time their pager can alert them to anything from a minor task to a fully fledged disaster, they must be ready to deal with whatever that job serves up in a professional way and do whatever it takes to assist the community in which they live and work.
Being a member at Chelsea SES is certainly not all doom and gloom and as in any group of people, there are times when funny things happen, and those times when we can laugh at situations are the things that keep you going through the times where we can't. I recently heard about a unit near Port Douglas in Far North Queensland who following a very heavy, tropical rain storm, were called to home where the garage was flooded. The first members on scene went to investigate and found a 4 Meter crocodile inside that had been happily cruising in the local river that had subsequently burst its banks sending a torrent of water and the croc into the unsuspecting resident's garage, rangers were called and the croc dispatched with the help of the SES members. We have found some strange things at jobs we have been called to, but thank goodness not quite that strange!
As a wiser person than me once said regarding volunteers; It's not that we don't pay them because they're worthless; we don't pay them because they're priceless, and why do we do what we do, I guess the simple answer is; someone has to!
If you would like to help the priceless resource that is the members of Chelsea SES, you can nominate them as a beneficiary of Ritchies Community Benefit Program.
Their CB number is 92913