People across the State were urged to turn up for work in bright orange on Wednesday 17 November in support of the State Emergency Service (SES).
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster said the annual Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) is a way of recognising the enormous contribution made by the DFES SES volunteers.
“Our SES volunteers come from all walks of life, ranging from tradespeople to office workers, stay at home parents, students and retirees - the one thing they all have in common is that they give up their own time to respond to life threatening emergencies,” Deputy Commissioner Fewster said.
“This can mean that they miss out on important personal occasions and family time in favour of responding to emergencies and attending vital training.
"Wearing something orange, the colour of the SES uniform, is a simple and visible way of showing appreciation and saying thank you to the SES volunteers who help keep our communities safe.”
In the past year, WA's SES volunteers have spent more than 6,700 hours involved in searches, 18,100 hours in storm and cyclone responses and 13,000 at other emergencies, mostly fire support.
Great Southern District Officer Lynda Elms said that while most people are aware of the role played by SES during incidents such as storms and searches, they might not realise the important part they play during bushfires.
“During SES Week and WOW Day there were SES units from across the State assisting with the response to the Esperance bushfires,” Lynda said.
“Their roles included logistics and waterbomber refilling, delivering food and equipment to the fire ground, providing transport for personnel, assisting with communications and providing support to the Incident Management Team, amongst other things.
“As well as the local SES units involved in the response, other volunteers came from across WA to provide help and worked tirelessly on a 24 hour rotation over nine long days.”
Throughout the last year, the SES has been involved in a number of other incidents. These include the significant response to Tropical Cyclone Olwyn, assisting with response efforts for bushfires in Bullsbrook, Northcliffe and Boddington, providing assistance during storms, and numerous searches including one undertaken in in extremely harsh conditions while looking for missing hunter Reg Foggerdy.
WA has 2,035 SES volunteers in 66 units, representing both male and female members across all age groups.