STRONG IN A CRISIS: Bill Roffey and the Coffs Harbour SES crew.
STRONG IN A CRISIS: Bill Roffey and the Coffs Harbour SES crew. Trevor Veale

Champions in the community

YOU mightn't ever need to rely on the dedicated team of the local SES, but it's a reassuring thought to know they are always there in times of need.

This week's Community Champion is Coffs Harbour SES local controller Bill Roffey.

What do you do?

I am fortunate enough to lead a team of dedicated volunteers who look after the Coffs Harbour community during floods and storms.

They also respond to road crash, vertical and large animal rescues.

In my role as local controller, I liaise with all other emergency services and the city council during significant weather events, as well as participating in the local emergency management, rescue and airport emergency committees.

Being involved in emergency management is similar but quite different from corporate and business management.

In emergency management you are dealing with people's lives, which means a little more pressure in arriving and making the right decision very quickly during critical incidents.

Part of the job is to also ensure Coffs Harbour always has sufficient resources and capability to fill the legislated role of the SES.

As the SES is also the primary rescue organisation in Coffs, this means we have to meet the mandatory requirements of the NSW State Rescue Board and the rescue policy that it controls.

What's the favourite part of your job?

Giving back to Coffs Harbour and its residents.

To be able to give back and contribute to ongoing peace of mind - and safety in Coffs is important to me and the team in the NSW SES.

The practical answer is being able to get down and get dirty when I'm allowed.

Where do you see the organisation in coming years?

The NSW SES will continue to evolve as technology evolves.

Over the past 10 years we have moved from pencil and paper to now using iPads and smartphones for communication and job processing.

In an emergency situation, fast and effective communications are critical.

We are now using manufactured and battery powered as opposed to manually driven and improvised rescue equipment.

There has been a quantum leap forward with technology and equipment in this time and there is no reason to believe this will not continue into the future.

The SES will always rely on people power to get the job done.

As NSW grows, the SES will grow and continue to evolve.

Sixty years ago the SES was about the Cold War and protecting citizens from a possible atomic attack.

Today we are still about protecting citizens and tomorrow we will still be about protecting citizens - perhaps from a different threat.

The task is the same but depending on the threats, how we go about completing the task will continue to evolve.

Do you know a community champion? Email us at editorial@coffscoastadvocate.com.au



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