It’s a rainy Saturday morning in Sydney’s Western suburbs and a gaggle of children, dressed in orange, are running around excitedly. Their role today is to be mini NSW SES helpers to remind everyone that it’s storm season and we all need to be prepared. As the cameras get ready to roll, seven year old Jonny places his helmet firmly on his head, while four year old Aiden shows off his special tool belt.
Children of NSW SES volunteers play a starring role in explaining the First Saturday March Task.
They may be little, but their message is huge. With storm season well underway and already showing how wet it can be, the kids of these NSW SES volunteers play ‘show and tell’ for the cameras, to remind us of the importance of being prepared.
“Lights Camera Action”
With his specially made NSW SES helmet firmly fastened, seven year- old Johnny from Sylvania Waters shows us how to clean our gutters before the storms start and explains with great confidence: “By doing one small task at home on the First Saturday of every month, we can help keep our First Responders safe.”
The First responder he is referring to is his very own mum.
The shoot, which features six children of NSW SES volunteers, aims to highlight that the volunteers who help us all during storms are also often parents who are called upon to leave their own families, to protect others. The First Saturday campaign is a chance to help them.
As the rain continues to fall, Johnny's nine year old sister Becky, twirls an NRMA Insurance umbrella and shows us the importance of checking our roofs using a cubby house for demonstration.
Their proud mum Maro looks on. She began volunteering with the NSW SES some 12 years ago. “The first Saturday campaign is very, very important. Doing a small task at the beginning of every month, will avoid a big job when a storm is coming", she says. "If I know a big storm is coming, I tell my friends to move their stuff from the back yard, don't leave anything outside and clean your gutter."
Like all the parents watching their children today, NSW SES do an incredible in our community. “I like to be active and feel proud to wear the uniform and I love to help people and while NSW SES has a lot of responsibility and it’s tough, I love the training and I love to help people" Maro says.
Both kids smile when asked what they think of their mum volunteering for the NSW SES. “I’m proud of her.” Says Becky says. “It’s nice to know someone that knows how to save people.” Jonny agrees, “She’s our superhero.”
But how do they feel when their mum is called out to an emergency to help other people? “There’s all these thoughts” says Becky. “What if she can’t help? What if she gets hurt? But when she comes home, it's like - Yes! Nothing happened!"
So, do these two energetic kids have any dreams of volunteering for NSW SES when they grow up? Both Becky and Jonny nod vigorously. Jonny wants to rescue people and Becky tells us she sometimes helps her mum train, by playing someone in danger who needs help, so her mum can throw her a line.
Help is in their DNA. Becky is also a member of cubs and proudly announces that she got her SES badge in Spring last year. Johnny is working on getting his.
So, what do we need to do to prepare for storm season this year? Becky looks at us seriously: “You need to not be lazy. It won’t hurt to clean a gutter or put things away. It doesn’t take much effort”
“And make sure you give the NSW SES a call if you need help in a storm or flood,” finishes Jonny with a cheeky smile up to Maro.
How you can help
Every day, Australia’s first responders risk their lives to help us, but now there’s a day we can help them. First Saturday. If we all make our homes safer once a month, together we can help prevent first responders being called to danger.
This Saturday March 6 - Get storm ready
Check your roof and balconies.