Search and Rescue strengthens community ties

Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad now has new and improved facilities which will not only benefit the organisation, but further strengthen its ties with its regional and state emergency management partners.

Photo of President of Shepparton Search & Rescue Michael D’Elia

The Squad moved into its Dudley Street facility in mid-2011 and last year completed further upgrades, including a divisional command point and administration room, training pad and storage shed. The facility is owned by the Greater Shepparton City Council and a long term lease is in place that secures Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad’s ability to plan for the future.

President Michael D’Elia said the new, state of the art facility, would enable the Squad to run an event of any size from the facility.

“Overall, the upgrade has been a huge improvement seeing additional space and improved facilities,” Mr D’Elia said.

“It is so important to provide good quality, professional facilities to attract and retain volunteer members and on a wider scale, the divisional command point will be a huge benefit to the region, allowing us to run and coordinate emergency events.”

Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad currently has 26 operational members and has serviced the local community for over 40 years. It is one of only two independent rescue units in Victoria, recognised by the Victorian Government and operating within the state Emergency Management Manual of Victoria (EMMV) Document and Road Rescue Arrangements of Victoria.

The Squad’s primary role is in road crash rescue and it has an MOU with SES for storm, flood and tsunami response and with CFA for communications and dispatch.

“We have strong working relationship with all emergency services, including with Ambulance Victoria for road crash rescue, the CFA and SES, in particular, Tatura SES,” Mr D’Elia said.

“Our members also do a lot of work in community engagement and education. We visit local secondary schools at least once a year and members speak at programs such as Cool Heads, a locally led initiative for young drivers.”

The latest upgrades to the Squad’s facility were funded through a $100,000 Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) however, the members also do a lot of their own fundraising.

“We have previously been quite successful in the VESEP program, receiving funding for our heavy rescue and medium rescue truck, our 4WD and this round for a jointly branded storm trailer with SES, lighting trailer and the 66 KVA generator,” Mr D’Elia said.

“But a lot of the fundraising is also done by the Squad itself which is just another way we bond as a group and work together to give back to our community.

“As we’re often working under such difficult circumstances, it so important that our members work together and support each other and we do, and work hard to maintain this.

“The Squad is like a family in itself – we look after each other and our community.”

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