ON CALL: Coffs Harbour SES volunteers James Heriot, Jack Cowling, Mark Watson kept busy in recent wild weather.
ON CALL: Coffs Harbour SES volunteers James Heriot, Jack Cowling, Mark Watson kept busy in recent wild weather. Trevor Veale

SES recruits step up to storm challenge

VOLUNTEER recruits at Coffs Harbour's SES unit were among the first on-scene during this month's wild weather events.

Joining the SES just months ago, trainee Mark Watson didn't think twice when he got the call to support local residents.

He was among those who worked around the clock to fill sandbags and assist with clean-up efforts.

"We helped people in the community prepare for the damage any way we could," he said.

"When you get the call you don't think twice."

Experienced volunteers at the Coffs Harbour unit train new recruits in weekly meetings, preparing them for any situation.

"I'm a carpenter by trade and I'm learning skills I didn't have," trainee James Heriot said.

"You learn vertical rescues, ropes, first-aid - you have to be ready for everything."

"It's best to know it and not have to use it, but you have to be prepared," Mr Watson added.

Jack Cowling, 20, is a recent recruit and among the youngest volunteers in the unit.

"I joined because I finished school and wanted to get some training under my belt," he said.

"There are so many positive things that you get out of it."

Unit controller Bill Roffey thanked all the volunteers who worked tirelessly during the east coast low storms for vital work in the community.



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