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SES serves as a helping friend in need during tough times

WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE: John Newley in front of the SES headquarters in Warwick.
WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE: John Newley in front of the SES headquarters in Warwick. Sean Teuma

STORM season can be a testing one for a number of people, with damaging effects felt by a town.

From rising waters through to trees in dangerous positions, they witness it all.

The people responsible for a large portion of the clean up and maintenance efforts during these times of hardship are the volunteers at the SES.

Warwick SES local controller John Newley has been a member of the volunteer group for 40 years, a role that has seen the Warwick crew travel to different parts of the country, all to help out their fellow citizens.

"We cover incidents within the Southern Downs region, as well as being called out when required,” Mr Newley said.

"We've travelled to help out with different cyclones, as well as storms in Brisbane and down in Newcastle as well.

"Volunteers give up their time from work and their home life to try and help out where they can.”

The role of the SES stretches far beyond that of simply responding to incidents.

" A callout we might receive could be to someone on their own who can't fix the damage caused by a storm,” Mr Newley said.

"In addition to doing whatever we can to assist that person, we'll make sure little tasks, such as taking photos for insurance purposes are also done.

"There can be times where 40% of what we do is fix a roof, with the other 60% just being there for someone.

"We can't fix everything, but we will certainly do our best.”

Mr Newley said there were a number of simple tips residents could take on board to reduce this risk of house damage during storm periods.

"A number of callouts come from house damage stemming from poor house maintenance,” he said.

"Things such as gutters being blocked with leaves can lead to water getting into house cavities.

"Lightning can travel a long distance in front of a storm, which can present further dangers to people and their property.

"People can minimise damage around storm period by looking around their house, pruning any large trees in their backyard, removing leaves from gutters, and making sure nothing in their backyard can be turned into a missile.

"Years ago in Killarney a trampoline was wrapped around a transformer, wiping out power for half the town, so these freak occurrences can happen.”


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