Discontent in State Emergency Services ranks in Redlands

CLEVELAND: The SES premises at Cleveland. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough
CLEVELAND: The SES premises at Cleveland. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

DISGRUNTLED SES volunteers say their Cleveland and Redland Bay facilities are unsafe and inadequate.

Emails leaked to the Redland City Bulletin say issues raised with council and SES management include no compliant emergency exits, insufficient smoke alarms and emergency exit signage, no indoor emergency alert device and unsafe access from the car park at Cleveland. At Redland Bay, volunteers have asked for lights inside portable toilets.

A long-time volunteer wrote that the SES was at a cross roads. 

“Senior members are leaving … because of a lack of strategic direction and forward movement especially around the issue of inadequate mainland accommodation,” the letter said.

“First, members were told we were waiting for the Toondah Harbour development to be approved, then it was the Weinam Creek re-development and most recently the Surf Life Saving Queensland development at Cleveland.”

The volunteer said inadequate mainland facilities could impact on the SES’s ability to co-ordinate city-wide emergency responses.

A council spokesperson said Redland SES had undergone change with a paid SES local controller appointed and improvements in culture, leadership, facilities and equipment were evident.

“Change is always difficult within any organisation, including volunteer-based entities, as systems and processes undergo review,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Cleveland and Redland Bay SES facilities were regularly upgraded and council continued to “take on board concerns regarding facilities”.

“These facilities are compliant with all necessary building codes and health and safety requirements, with quarterly review and regular maintenance undertaken.”

Improvements like security fencing, amenities, storage and lighting had already been made.

The spokesperson said they were planning for SES to be part of a Surf Life Saving Queensland Centre of Excellence and investigating locations for a new SES facility.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson said there had not been a drop in Cleveland and Redland Bay SES unit members.

“QFES works closely with Redland City Council and is happy with the ongoing support the local council provides the SES in the region,” the spokesperson said.