Bendigo SES appeals for help to replace rescue equipment

Bendigo SES volunteers will rattle tins tomorrow to raise funds to help replace their ageing Jaws of Life rescue equipment.

The local SES unit will be out in force all day collecting donations from passing cars at Charing Cross.

The “jaws” are hydraulic cutters that help SES crews pry people from the wreckage of car crashes. 

Each set of jaws are worth around $50,000.

SES volunteer Daniel Reader said the service’s equipment was in urgent need of an upgrade.

He said modern cars’ stronger designs made it harder for the ageing tools to cut through vehicles that were in road accidents.

“The new jaws are stronger and can be set up a lot quicker, to be better able to respond instantly,” he said.

He said the Bendigo unit experienced a spike in call- outs with recent storm and flood events, placing a significant strain on volunteers and resources. 

Bendigo members have also been deployed to surrounding districts such as Nathalia, Melbourne and Gisborne.

Volunteer Allison Rees said it was an ongoing process for the SES to maintain its equipment and keep up with demand. “Meeting demand and having the right tools to respond to emergencies is a vital part of our service to the community,” she said.

“It’s a continuing process to keep upgrading our equipment. Right now the Jaws of Life are our number one priority, but there will be other bits of equipment we will need to upgrade long-term.”

SES volunteers will be joined by staff from NAB, in its third year of involvement with the fundraiser.

NAB home loan banker and SES volunteer Akira Kelly said it was an important cause to be involved with.

She said the community support at the tin-rattling fundraiser earlier in the year had been amazing.

“It is always incredible the level of support we get from the public in Bendigo,” she said.

The SES tin rattle will be held at Charing Cross between 8am and 4pm tomorrow.

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