TO combat serious injuries on roof rescues, one dedicated Kalamunda volunteer designed an innovative training resource that will boost the skills of emergency service providers across the state.
During National Volunteer Week, May 16 to 22, volunteers like State Emergency Service team leader Don Smailes are being celebrated for the vital work they carry out in the community and beyond.
Mr Smailes committed his time to designing training equipment for the unit after numerous cases of volunteers falling off or through roofs while performing rescues.
As a result, it became a requirement for them to use a roof safety system before climbing above gutter level.
“I got an idea of building a training shed with tin on one side and tiles on the other, then we put the design to an engineer,” he said.
The mock roof used for rescue training doubles as a shed for the Kalamunda SES minibus and trailer, which were previously parked in the open.
Unit manager Warrick Martindale gave the go-ahead for the mock roof and shed to be constructed using a donation from an anonymous Kalamunda local.
Mr Smailes said the mock roof and shed has been an invaluable resource to volunteers during their weekly training.
Mr Smailes has been volunteering at Kalamunda SES for 11 years and said his commitment to the role came from his upbringing.
“Helping the community is something you learn from your parents, I think without a sense of community, life doesn’t exist,” he said.
Kalamunda SES is made up of 45 volunteers and their core roles include attending storm damage, missing persons or forensic searches and fire support.
In the last 12 months team members have been deployed to cyclone Seroja, the Northern Rivers floods in New South Wales, the Wheatbelt fires and the Gascoyne missing person search.
By Morgan de Smidt