27 August 2021

Emergency services volunteers put their hand up for the community during COVID-19

| Dominic Giannini
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Emergency services volunteers

Emergency services volunteers delivered more than 900 packages within the first two weeks of lockdown. Photo: ESA.

Within days of the lockdown being announced, more than 150 emergency services staff and volunteers had put their hands up to help out another cause.

Firefighters became food deliverers and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers put down the chainsaws and picked up the phones to help contact trace.

The volunteers from the ACT Emergency Services Agency have begun helping Canberrans by collecting and delivering essential items to the front door of vulnerable people who have called Volunteering ACT for help accessing essential supplies.

More than 900 grocery deliveries were completed and in excess of 1000 laptops were handed out to vulnerable people and struggling residents who could not leave the house in the first two weeks of Canberra’s three-week lockdown.

More than 300 litres of hand sanitiser and almost 100,000 facemasks were also delivered by the volunteers.

Dave Danell, who is a part of the ACT Rural Fire Service, said he was happy to put his hand up for the effort.

“Everyone becomes a volunteer firefighter because we enjoy helping out, we enjoy doing things other people cannot. It is a fantastic way to give back to the community,” he said.

Lockdown deliveries

Emergency services volunteers delivered more than 900 packages in the first two weeks of lockdown. Photo: ESA.

“Being able to give back to the community in a different way, such as groceries for people who cannot get them themselves is just another way we can make a difference, which is why we join up in the first place.

“The experience has been really positive. Everyone who comes to the door or waves through the window is nothing but thankful for us going out of the way to get them their groceries and ability to make food for the week.”

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For Kym Schmid, who volunteers with the ACT SES, it was a sense of duty to her community that resulted in her putting her hand up when times became tougher during the Territory’s COVID-19 outbreak.

“I really enjoy helping in the community and with something so big happening I felt that I needed to be out there supporting people,” she said.

“Everything is running really smoothly picking up the groceries and delivering them to people in need, so it has been really worthwhile.

“It has also been great and really nice to get outside during the beautiful spring weather.”

To order emergency food and essential items, call Volunteering ACT on 1800 43 11 33 between 9 am and 5 pm. If the phone is not answered, leave a message and someone will return your call.

Volunteers are not permitted to enter your home so if you are unable to collect the delivery from your front door, you will need to arrange for a carer or approved visitor to assist you.

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