Today marks the start of National Volunteer Week (21 – 27 May), an annual celebration to recognise the dedication and hard work of our nation’s volunteers. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll said more than 42,000 volunteers were signed on within the ranks of QFES, providing valuable assistance to communities across the state. 

“I’m extremely proud of the response and recovery efforts of volunteers who worked tirelessly to assist Queensland communities following recent weather events, including Tropical Cyclone Nora and Tropical Cyclone Iris,” Ms Carroll said. 

“Furthermore, more than 400 volunteers were deployed to the Commonwealth Games in April, where they contributed 11,000 hours across 13 operational and event support tasks around the Gold Coast.  

“Whether helping people in need or supporting international events, their hard work is testament to the Queensland spirit and the unwavering dedication of our volunteers never ceases to amaze me as they work to help communities.” 

Ms Carroll said QFES volunteers dedicated countless hours to a variety of roles across the state.

“About 36,000 Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers work tirelessly through bushfire season preparation and response, while about 5,500 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers help Queensland communities in times of disaster or emergency,” she said.

“QFES has a scientific advisor volunteer network which includes chemists and chemical engineers, who provide prompt, on-scene responses to emergency incidents involving chemical hazards. 

“There’s also a volunteer network of doctors, engineers and canine specialists who deploy as part of Queensland’s Disaster Aid Response Team (DART), and those who volunteer as Peer Support Officers as part of the Fire and Emergency Services Support Network (FESSN).”

QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said the contribution of emergency service volunteers was crucial to the ongoing success of QFES. 

“Our volunteers are trained to keep communities safe at a moment’s notice, without concern for time or distance,” Mr Wassing said. 

“I encourage everyone to take the time this week to say thank you to a volunteer, not just those on the frontline but also the ones behind the scenes coordinating logistics, catering and more. 

“On behalf of QFES I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to all of our valued volunteers for your time and hard work and commitment to your communities.” 

Queenslanders are also encouraged to get involved with Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) on Wednesday, 23 May to show support for SES volunteers. 

For more information about Wear Orange Wednesday visit http://www.wearorangewednesday.com.au/