Loddon Shire staff support CERT

Published on 04 December 2015

Photo caption: CERT vehicles and uniforms are a common sight outside Loddon Shire Council’s Wedderburn Office.

Loddon Shire Council employees expect a frantic rush to the rest room to throw on emergency services uniforms when an emergency pager sounds in their office.

While it’s never a sound they like to hear, as it means there’s a medical emergency, fire or accident somewhere in the Shire, it’s a case of simply chipping in and getting the job done.

Loddon Shire employees Dede Williams and Heather Christie volunteer with the Wedderburn CERT team and are rostered for regular 12 hour day and night shifts.

“When there’s a road accident in the area, at any one time we could have people charging around throwing on CERT, SES or CFA uniforms,” Mrs Williams said.

“At Loddon Shire if we get a call out it’s a no questions asked policy and we get paid emergency services leave.”

Mrs Christie, a full time employee at Loddon Shire, mother of five and volunteer with CERT and the SES, said it was a privilege to be able to work in a paid position and still commit to volunteer roles.

“It certainly isn’t something we take for granted and it’s always worth it when you see the look of absolute relief on the face of those you’re there to help in an emergency,” she said.

“You find back at the office staff are always accepting and supportive and if the call-out comes at the end of the day there’s always someone happy to stay back and tie up your loose ends.”

Mrs Williams said this attitude was typical of the community spirit found in rural townships such as Wedderburn.

“It can be quite draining work at times as in more than 80 per cent of cases you’re called to an incident where you know the person, however from the patient’s point of view, seeing a familiar face is good because it helps them relax.”

“Volunteer services are vital in small towns and we quite simply couldn’t do it without support at work, home and in the broader community.”

“There’s something quite special about coming home and having your son or daughter ask whether you’ve saved anyone that day.”

CERT teams operate in towns more than 30 minutes from an ambulance station and within Loddon Shire that includes Pyramid Hill, Boort and Wedderburn.