There are five emergency volunteering services, each which respond to different types of emergencies. Whether you're providing support on the frontline, or assisting in support roles, there are many ways to be involved.
The Bush Fire Service consists of more than 500 Bush Fire Brigades which provide fire prevention and response capabilities in their local area. These fires can be of bush and scrub or structural.
Roles within this brigade are not limited to emergency situations and can include firefighting, equipment maintenance, community education, social media coordination and public relations management.
Rob Barnett | Wallcliffe BFB
I have gotten far more out of the Brigade than I have put in. The support from Brigade members when you join is unbelievable and you are surrounded by role models from day one. I recommend the Brigade to anyone who wants to fight their own fires and not rely on others. I wish I had joined thirty years earlier.
Scott Rowe | Argyle-Irishtown BFB
When you first start, you don’t understand the depth of volunteering. The camaraderie, the friendships, the feeling that you’re making a difference - that’s what keeps you coming back.
Terri Kowal | Bunbury BFB
To me volunteering is about giving more than what I get out of it. Having said that, I love watching people grow. Whether it’s our Cadets growing, learning, building their own self-belief and confidence or one of our active members.
Mel Costall | Mt Helena BFB
It’s a great challenge that anyone can take on. It’s much better to get involved than sitting back and watching. Our community is at high risk of bushfire, it’s a great way to give back and contribute to the community.
Fire and Emergency Services volunteers respond to a range of local emergencies including bushfires, floods, vehicle crashes and land searches for missing persons.
Each unit has been designed to meet the needs of their local community, so available roles are dependent on the volunteer unit's location.
Nathan Ireland | Onslow VFES
I joined the local volunteer brigade as a means of involving myself within the community. Little did I know I was joining a family and made friends for life.
Sean Cunningham | Fitzroy Crossing VFES
Volunteering is an experience that you’ll never forget. It’s one of the best feelings knowing that you’ve helped someone in need.
Christie O’Brien | Bullsbrook VFES
I volunteer because I wanted to be of service to the community while doing something I enjoy. I’ve learned new skills, gained confidence in myself and made new friends.
Sandra Lymbery | Coral Bay VFES
In a small town like ours volunteering is important, so we join because we’re needed. We all feel like an important part of the community and are very proud.
Fire and Rescue Service volunteers respond to local emergencies involving vehicles, related to an industrial incident, or resulting from a bush, scrub or structural fire.
There are a range of roles available including firefighting, community education, equipment maintenance, road crash rescue and training.
Janet Ward | Roleystone VFRS
Volunteering has by far been one of the best things that I have ever done. The friendships, the community spirit, the challenge, the training and so much more that I can’t even begin to describe.
Ross Patience | Broome VFRS
Volunteering helped me discover my passion for firefighting, which I have since made my career. I have continued to volunteer with Broome Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service as I enjoy being part of the team and helping my community when in need.
TK Kippen | Coolgardie VFRS
Helping the local community is so rewarding, especially when you’re in a smaller regional town. I like to think I made a positive impact on their day even if the outcome wasn’t the best.
Mark Hutchings | Kwinana VFRS
I was drawn to volunteering as a way of giving back to the community, as well as a way to make friends since I didn’t grow up in Australia. I couldn't think of a better way to make a difference to someone else's life!
Marine Rescue volunteers work in close liaison with the WA Police Force to coordinate and perform marine rescue activities as well as assisting during other emergencies including bushfires.
Volunteer roles can vary and can include radio communications, crewing rescue vessels, navigation and chart reading, social media coordination and public relations management.
Josh Gammon-Carson | Marine Rescue Cockburn
Joining Marine Rescue has given me a huge amount of new skills and opportunities, countless rewarding experiences and friends for life! Being able to give back to a community that I'm already passionate about is an incredibly rewarding feeling. It's fantastic to help create a safer marine environment for current and future marine users in WA.
Thea McDonald-Lee | Marine Rescue Naturaliste
I started volunteering at Marine Rescue Naturaliste to learn more about chart work, navigation and how to handle a vessel in tricky conditions. The camaraderie of working with a dedicated team to keep people safe at sea has been incredible.
Samantha Courtney | Marine Rescue Geraldton
There is a volunteering role for everyone which can really help the community. It’s a nice feeling being able to put your skills to good use and very reassuring knowing there are dedicated volunteers who are looking out for our safety.
Christine Heu | Marine Rescue Jurien Bay
Being a volunteer Marine Rescue Commander is like having an extended family. Everyone knows each other and we grow together to accomplish what we do.
The SES provides invaluable response capabilities, providing essential response during storms, cyclones and floods. They also work closely with WA Police on land searches and rescues. The SES also maintains a range or specialist capabilities with their Canine and Equine Units, logistical and communications specialisations.
Fleur Pedlar | Broome SES
I volunteer along with my husband and two sons – the Broome SES team are like an extension of my family. I’ve learned so many challenging skills that I never thought I would do in my life! I’m a proud member and guarantee you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. Go on, challenge yourself!
Nathan Beard | SES Mounted Section
I love volunteering, not only for the good I am doing for the community, but for the friendships and camaraderie of my team. Volunteering helps give me a purpose and sense of worth in my busy lifestyle.
Danie Lansom | Wanneroo Joondalup SES
I signed up on my 18th birthday, just like my Dad! I was drawn to Vertical Rescue because of the technicality and fast pace – if you put the effort in, it can take you anywhere and you’ll meet amazing people along the way!
Zeffie Maynard | SES Canine Unit
I joined the SES because I wanted to be a part of a group of people who give back to their community without expecting anything in return.
Regardless of age, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to volunteer. If you are under 18 years old, you could consider joining a cadet or junior program at your local brigade, group or unit, or you could see whether your local high school offers an Emergency Services Cadet Corp program.
Cassidy Hodgson | Bunbury Cadets
Being a Cadet in the Bushfire Brigade really makes me feel like part of the community. My family are really proud of what I’ve achieved as a Cadet. I would definitely encourage others to give it go!
Charli Campbell-Warr | Dwellingup Cadets
I like helping people and being able to make a positive impact in our community. I have gained experience and qualities that will make me a great leader one day and the Cadets have helped me gain a lot of confidence in myself.
Lauren Green | Waggrakine Cadets
Helping Dad fight fires on the farm made me want to join Waggrakine Bushfire Brigade so I could learn more firefighting skills. I’ve learned a lot, made new friends, had experiences many other kids may never have. One day soon I’ll be a volunteer firefighter too.
Bodie Worsley | Bullsbrook Cadets
I joined because I want to give back to the community. I enjoy learning the skills to become a good firefighter and to be able to help my family and those around me if needed.
Other Ways to Volunteer
Volunteering for emergency services doesn't always mean you'll be working on the frontline. There are a number of other ways that you can get involved and help your community, too.
The Centre provides an interactive and interesting experience for the public by allowing them to explore the history of the WA Fire Brigade. Roles at the Centre include assisting in the delivery of school programs, being a tour guide or participating in curatorial activities.
MAPS-WA consists of mapping professionals who use their specialised skills in Geographical Information System (GIS) to assist during emergency incidents.
Bushfire Ready facilitators play a key role in coordinating their local communities to work together and undertake activities to reduce the risk of bushfires. Facilitators receive firefighter training, but do not have to respond to emergencies.
The State Wide Operational Response Division (SWORD) consists of a variety of units, with volunteers sent around the state to provide logistical, research, rescue and specialist communications support during emergencies.
This specialised unit provides vital expertise and technology to maintain reliable communications during major incidents. The unit operates vehicles which provide mobile satellite technology, high resolution video and thermal imaging. Volunteers are also trained to assist in the DFES Operations Centre during widespread emergencies.
A love for music and a desire to contribute to the community are what brings these volunteers together. Members come from all walks of life and have the opportunity to represent the DFES, its staff and volunteers at official and community events.
This secondary response volunteer team is based in Perth. All volunteers within this division are primarily trained for bush fire response to provide support around the state when required.
This specialised section provides an invaluable additional skill set for emergency services response. Teamed with their highly trained search dogs, volunteers provide assistence in searches for missing persons.
Logistics preparedness is a key component of any disaster reduction effort. Volunteers operating within this unit work diligently behind the scenes in order to maintain the effective functioning of volunteer services.
This specialist section offers vital support to volunteers involved in land search response. As volunteers are able to work with their horses to cover large areas of land, they can greatly improve search capabilities.
The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Canine Unit provides invaluable support in locating live casualties during time-sensitive incidents. Being a volunteer with this unit requires a high degree of commitment, as training a new canine takes approximately one to two years. To learn more about the USAR Canine Unit and required commitment, Information pack on the main DFES website.
The Vintage Fleet Restoration Group provides a vital connection to the history of the Fire Brigade in WA by restoring, maintaining and displaying vintage fire appliances. Members include former emergency personnel, vintage car and truck enthusiasts and interested community members.