ACT State Emergency Service

The ACTSES comprises of over 380 dedicated volunteers operating from seven SES Units and the Headquarters Support Group.

ACT State Emergency Service

The ACTSES comprises of over 380 dedicated volunteers operating from seven SES Units. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, all backgrounds and all professions.

Membership of the ACTSES is open to anyone with a passion to do the right thing within their community. A reasonable degree of fitness is required for most roles, although ACTSES welcomes membership enquiries from people with a range of abilities. ACTSES accepts members from the age of 16 (with parental consent) and from 18 for general membership.

While most of our volunteers undertake operational roles, ACTSES has a flexible approach to volunteering, and offers different positions to suit a range of interests and skills, there is a role for everybody:

  • Field Operations Members – functions performed by these operational volunteers include storm and water damage mitigation and response, radio communications, operations centre support, search, navigation, scene lighting, first aid and community engagement.
  • Support Operations Members – provide a broad range of support roles including first aid support, general welfare to volunteers, community engagement support, incident management support, communications support and administrative tasks.

It is acknowledged and understood that volunteers’ main priorities are family and work. ACTSES volunteers are expected to attend training on Thursday evenings as well as the occasional full day activity or courses on a weekend where applicable to their position.

In addition to these scheduled training commitments, volunteers are required to maintain the currency of their skills by attending community events and operations related to their position within the Service. On average, an ACTSES volunteer spends five hours a week ‘in orange’. ‘Your time your service’

Field Operations Members respond to callouts within their communities, across the ACT, and sometimes inter-state as needed.

The Commitment and Rewards

Volunteering with the ACTSES

The ACTSES is part of the ACT Public Service, and as such its volunteers demonstrate the values of:

  1. Respect
  2. Integrity
  3. Collaboration
  4. Innovation

This involves:

Volunteer with the ACTSES includes:

  • a strong commitment from the volunteer
  • voluntary, unpaid work
  • irregular operational response at any time of the day or night, and
  • getting dirty, tired, wet, hot or cold – sometimes, all at once.

What’s in it for you

  • A great sense of achievement
  • Many unique and interesting experiences and opportunities
  • Nationally accredited training
  • The opportunity to make new friends
  • The opportunity to make a difference in your community, and
  • Formal recognition including ACTSES, ACT Government and national honours and awards.

The rewards are many – learning new skills, keeping fit, gaining valuable qualifications, earning respect within the community, having fun, being active as part of a dedicated team.

Health and Fitness

ACTSES requires its members to maintain minimum standards of health and fitness. As part of the application process prospective members must provide a medical report from their medical practitioner. It should be remembered that different roles with ACTSES have different fitness requirements. ACTSES has a strong commitment to inclusivity and diversity and welcomes expressions of from people with a range of abilities.

Click here to download the ACTSES Fitness Test Brochure [PDF 9MB].

Examples of ACTSES Training

Members of the ACTSES deliver a broad range of capabilities to the community.

Training is comprehensive and is aligned to national units of competency, mostly from the Public Safety Training Package. Training and assessment is provided by subject matter experts and nationally qualified trainers and assessors, many of whom are ACTSES volunteers.

The units of competency listed below can be found at

Core Capabilities

Recruit Skills – mandatory for all members
HLTFA301C Apply first aid – flexible delivery
HLTAID001 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (part of Apply first aid)
PUACOM001C Communicate in the workplace
PUACOM002B Provide services to clients
PUAOHS001C Followed defined OH&S policies and procedures
PUATEA001B Work in team
PUATEA004D Work effectively in a public safety organisation
PUAOPE013A Operate communications systems and equipment
10314NAT Course in Asbestos Awareness
Storm and Flood Operator
PUAOHS002B Maintain safety at an incident scene
PUAEQU001B Prepare, maintain and test response equipment
PUALAW001B Protect and preserve incident scene
PUASES008A Undertake storm and water damage operations
PUASES013A Undertake storm and water damage operations performed at heights (required in addition to the above units of competency in order to work at heights)
Search Operator
PUASAR027A Undertake land search rescue
PUAOPE014A Navigate to an incident
Rescue Operator
PUASAR022A Participate in a rescue operation
PUASAR023A Participate in USAR Cat 1

Specialist Capabilities

Air Search Observer
PUAAMS001A Work in an aviation environment
PUAAMS002A Search as a member of an air search team
Chainsaw Operator – Trim and Crosscut
FPICOT2221B Trim and cross cut felled trees
PUAOHS002B Maintain safety at an incident scene
PUAEQU001B Prepare, maintain and test response equipment
Chainsaw Operator – Feller
FPIFGM32120 Fell Trees Manually (Intermediate)
PUAOHS002B Maintain safety at an incident scene
PUAEQU001B Prepare, maintain and test response equipment
Driver – 4WD
FPICOT2234A Operate 4×4 vehicle
Driver – Medium Rigid
Medium Rigid (MR) Licence

Leadership and Management

Team Leader
PUAOPE015A Conduct briefings and debriefings
PUATEA003B Lead, manage and develop teams

How to join the ACTSES