Community called on to celebrate emergency volunteers

Victoria State Emergency Service [VICSES] Hobsons Bay deputy controller of community engagement Maxine Warren has been volunteering for the VICSES for six years following volunteer work in equestrian sports and a career in Defence. (Supplied)

The Victoria State Emergency Service [VICSES] has called for Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay residents to wear a splash of orange on Wednesday, May 18 to celebrate Wear Orange Wednesday as a way to thank volunteers.

VICSES Hobsons Bay deputy controller of community engagement Maxine Warren has been a volunteer for six years after coming from a Defence background.

“I joined because I come from a life of volunteering in different areas,” she said.

“I love horses, so I was volunteering in equestrian sports but when that came to an end, I wanted to volunteer within the community of Hobsons Bay.

“VICSES runs on a command-and-control structure which is like Defence, so it was easy to understand the organisational structure and where I fit in.”

Ms Warren said she has been deployed to the Gippsland fires in 2019 as a coxswain to provide evacuation by water if needed, as a community engagement facilitator in Orbost in 2020 and to the floods in Queensland earlier this year.

“I’ve done land search, four-wheel drive, working at heights, boat rescue, chainsaw, but my favourite training and experience has been with community engagement where we raise awareness of the service, so people know when to call us,” she said.

“The most important part of community engagement, though, is preparedness.

“A resilient community like this allows our volunteers and emergency services to respond to life-threatening situations and to work more effectively over a larger response area.”

Held during National Volunteer Week, WOW Day is an important day of appreciation for volunteers like Ms Warren, who selflessly dedicate their time and skills to helping their communities during their most acute time of need.

Victorians are encouraged to get their workplaces, families, and friends involved in WOW Day celebrations by wearing orange and posting a photo to social media using the hashtags #WOWDay and #ThankYouSES.