Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently asked questions about the SES

What does the SES do?

The SES is the lead combat unit for Flood, Cyclone, Storm and Tsunami mitigation. This means the SES controls the situation whenever these situations occur. It also has the flexibility to support many other emergency organisations, i.e. Search and Rescue for the police, Casualty Handling for St. John Ambulance, Logistic and Radio Communications support for Fire Services.

Why does the SES wear orange?

Orange is the international colour for rescue services. It is easy to recognise in most emergencies, i.e. in building collapse, in bushland, in forest and in the desert.

Is working for the SES dangerous?

The SES trains to perform many different duties, involving many skills. There may be times when dangerous situations are involved however through thorough training, using the right equipment, and the right processes the danger is eliminated.

Am I insured for loss of wages?

If you have a genuine income at the time of any injury incurred during an SES activity your income upto a certain limit is protected and all medical bills are covered

Am I insured whilst training and performing my duties?

All members are insured whilst performing their duties and training. Ask your local SES Manager about the details.

How much does it cost to join the SES?

Joining the SES costs you only your time.
Life membership, should you choose to stay that long, costs nothing!

My town does not have an SES unit but it does have a Volunteer Emergency Service. What does this mean?

In many country towns SES units and Fire Brigades have agreed to join to provide a joint service through a Volunteer Emergency Service unit. A VES unit trains in both the SES and Fire Services disciplines and performs both duties. Joining a VES unit enables you to train in all SES disciplines.

How old do I have to be to join the SES?

Anyone over the age of 16 can join the SES.

Are there any entry requirements?

No, the SES is an equal opportunity service and apart from a medical declaration form and a Police integrity check, there are no pre-requisites.

How much does the uniform and safety equipment cost me?

After a trial period (this may vary slightly from unit to unit but at around 6 weeks ) all uniform equipment and personal safety equipment (gloves, helmet, safety glasses etc.) are provided to each member.

What Skills will I Learn?

The skills learnt will depend on the responsibilities of your SES local unit. Each unit trains in most of the skills below.

  • First aid
  • Map reading and navigation
  • Land search techniques
  • Urban search and rescue
  • Storm damage techniques
  • Flood boat rescue
  • General rescue
  • Erecting tents
  • Radio communications
  • Leadership
  • Team Management
  • Management
  • Driving vehicles for emergencies
  • 4 Wheel Driving
  • Road accident rescue (country areas only)
  • Single rope techniques (abseiling) and vertical rescue
  • Observation from aircraft and supply dropping
  • Ground support for fire services
  • Catering


If have a medic al disability can I still join the SES ?

Providing the disability is not going to be a danger to yourself or other members all you need to do is declare the disability to the Local SES manager who will discuss the ramifications if any with you.

How often do SES units meet?

In the metro area most units meet and train weekly and in the country this could be every two weeks or monthly.

Are the volunteers I see on TV paid to do such a professional job?

All Orange SES people seen on TV are volunteers they do not get paid. No SES volunteer is paid. The quality of the training and the volunteer's dedication produces such exellant results

Is training free or do I have to pay fees?

The SES is part of FESA which is a Registered Accredited Training Organisation FESA provides Training to Nationally Accredited Standards free to all it’s registered members including the SES. There are no fees.

If I take time off work, will the SES pay my wages?

No, each individual makes their own arrangements with their employer. The SES will provide letters of attendance to employers for any member who volunteers at an incident.

What about out of pocket expenses?

When on active duty all food, accommodation and travel costs are met by the SES even if you are flown to Broome or Christmas Island to perform that duty.


Frequently asked questions about the SES Volunteer’s Association of WA

How did the association help with SES legislation?

The SESVA was involved in SES legislation through:

  • Contribution of ideas/topics to be included in legislation
  • The association has projected a high profile during the review process and hsd conducted workshop and other activities to obtain volunteers opinions.

What is the SESVA doing to assist in volunteer recruitment and retention?

The SESVA has learnt that volunteer recruitment and retention issues are not just our problem. It is a problem that strikes across the whole of Australian emergency services. We are working with:

  • DFES for a coordinated approach to assist with these issues. 

What does the association do with funds raised from the advertising in journals, calendars and diaries?

Funds raised from the advertising support or have been used for:

  • Administration expenses
  • Attending of volunteer conferences and regional meetings
  • Training courses
  • The association in conjunction with DFES Media & Public affairs developed a promotional video, which was provide free to all SES units to use as a advocacy tool
  • Association Flyers
  • Bumper stickers
  • Supports the SESVA benevolent fund

What is the SESVA doing to promote SES?

The SESVA produces journals, calendars and diaries for SES volunteers and to be used as advocacy tools in your own communities. The SESVA has a website, facebook page and twitter feed.

Who are members of the SES Volunteer Association Incorporated (SESVA)?

All SES and DFES unit volunteers are eligible to be members. Our constitution explains more about life and associate members. DFES staff are not eligible. A copy of the constitution is available from the SESVA office and on this website" see constitution"

Am I still insured as SES volunteer if I am involved in SESVA activities?

Liasing with and casual involvement with SESVA is considered normal SES activity and is covered by DFES Risk Cover Insurance. If you decide or are voted in as a committee person, the SESVA hold a separate insurance policy to cover committee members for all association activities.


For More Information Contact:
State Emergency Service Volunteers Association of Western Australia
PO Box 3218 BELMONT WA 6104

Email:  or