19 September 2023

Join the orange army for fun, learning and a chance to give back

| Sarah Martin
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SES Far Northern Region area controller Matt Currey with Cooktown SES volunteers Mike Masding, George Tiemstra, Peter Symes and volunteer local area coordinator Katie Hooker.

Cooktown SES volunteer Mike Masding is calling for locals to join the more than 5000 men and women in orange who make up the State’s Emergency Services this SES Week.

Mr Masding is one of a team of only five in the Cooktown SES group, and urged others to consider joining to give back to reap the personal benefits while supporting the town.

“It’s good camaraderie, it’s a good group and a good way to improve yourself with general knowledge,” he said.

“We live in an area with floods and cyclones, at some stage when we cop it, if you’ve got that prior knowledge not only does it help the community but you help yourself.

“The SES is a good thing for a small community and it gives you a lot more confidence in yourself as well.”

Mr Masding joined the Cooktown SES in September last year, and contrary to popular belief that all the volunteers do is tarp roofs and fill sandbags, his first operation was a medical emergency.

“It was a CPR emergency, the ambulance, police and fire brigade were all out of town at the time so I got a call to rush there,” he recalled.

“There was a gentleman who had collapsed and smashed his head, but fortunately by the time I got there he was breathing again and I just assessed him.”

Mike Masding has been a volunteer with Cooktown SES since September and his first callout was a CPR emergency.

SES Far Northern region area controller Matt Currey, in Cooktown for SES Week, said joining had both personal and community benefits.

“You get to deal with like minded people that are volunteers as well, and we teach you a whole heap of new skills,” Mr Currey said.

“We provide you with all the PPE that’s required, so you don’t have any expenses yourself and we provide you with first class training and the opportunity to deploy statewide and even interstate.”

Mr Currey said in a regional community like Cooktown, the SES were always a valuable part of the town.

“When most people are in a panic you’re there to help them and support your local community and it helps build a resilient community when you’re able to help people out in their time of need,” he said.

“We’re a supporting agency, if there (is a need) in Cook Shire we’ll come and do whatever we need to do wherever we fit into that event.”

New members will be quickly upskilled with an all-expenses paid week-long course leaving them ready to hit the ground running.

Visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website for more information on the SES and to register your interest to join.

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