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A day in the life of Kurnai woman, Renae Knight, an SES volunteer in the age of COVID-19

SES volunteer responding to an emergency Source: Supplied

Kurnai woman, Renae Knight says working on the frontline as a volunteer rescuer is very rewarding as it is all about helping the community. Volunteers are much needed, but they have had to adapt the way they operate because of COVID-19.

Kurnai woman, Renae knight is an experienced volunteer at the SES Marong Unit (central Victoria). Her Husband is also a volunteer at the same location serving as the Unit Controller.

NITV Radio caught up with her, in the sidelines of National Volunteer Week. At the time, Renae was 32 weeks pregnant and still involved in the unit.

She said that because of Covid-19 there have been some changes to the way they do their rescue operations but their work as volunteers hasn’t diminished at all.

“People need us, we are still going out there. It is just that there are different rules.”

The Kurnai volunteer conceded that the daily life of a volunteer rescuer can go from very quiet to very hectic very quickly especially because they must juggle rescue work and parenting young kids.

“We’ve got a system in place where one of us, either my husband or myself, can go when the pager rings. We must go because someone out there needs help.”

It is quiet rewarding because at the end of the day you are just helping someone that needs help

Renae says that the SES provides all manner of training from basic safety principles and practices to rooftop safety, land search, road crash rescue, using chainsaws and other equipment, etc…

“But it’s up to every volunteer to choose how far they want to go in their training.” And, she’s done most of the rescue courses and tasks and intends to go further.

“I haven’t been as far as being a staging leader of a big scale events, but I want to learn more and do more.”

Renae can be spotted doing some mending on houses after they’ve been struck by fallen trees or smashed into by a car. She’s also done land searches and car-crash rescues.

“When the pager goes off, my husband and I, we shoot each other a message to determine who will go to the rescue. If I’ve got a small child, most of the time he will go. But if we are both at home, we do a quick rock paper scissors to see who is going.”

She says being a rescuer is quiet rewarding because at the end of the day you are just helping someone that needs help.

Their six-year-old is aware and very proud of Renae and Trent’s work. She loves accompanying them to community and educational events and enjoys describing her parents’ work for the community.

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