When their pagers go off, Warrnambool's State Emergency Service volunteers are busy doing different things.
Their day jobs vary from working at an abattoir to the local courthouse but what they have in common is a willingness to pull on their bright orange suits to assist their community.
Allansford's Joseph Turnbull-Pitts works at Midfield Meats and joined the Warrnambool SES about one year ago after previously volunteering with the Otway SES unit. He has attended numerous car accidents and land search and rescues.
Mr Turnbull-Pitts said he joined to help the community and learn new skills.
Warrnambool's Troy Litster, who works for Court Services Victoria, said his interest in joining the SES was sparked from stories told by his work colleague Carly Hughson.
A volunteer for close to two years, Mr Litster has attended nearly 150 incidents, including storm damage, fallen trees, searching for missing people and road accidents.
Mr Litster said he was also the first responder at some fatalities.
Fortunately, he said SES provided "training and support in preparedness for these incidents and good follow up with peer support available after traumatic events".
"SES offers such great training and you're able to learn so many great skills you can use in every day life," he said.
"The Warrnambool Unit is a really welcoming and supportive team of volunteers."
Mr Litster thanked his family, as well as his employer for allowing him to "get up and run when the pager goes off".
Tara O'Brien became a Warrnambool volunteer in 2019 after joining the SES in Queensland a decade ago.
She has mostly attended weather-related jobs, as well as search and rescues.
"I enjoy the variety and the constant learning," she said.
Phil Young met unit controller Giorgio Palmeri at the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter factory before his retirement in 2018.
He joined the Warrnambool unit about 12 months ago, adding to his list of philanthropic efforts, which includes volunteering for the Warrnambool multiple sclerosis peer support group and Funakoshi Karate Club.
Mr Young said "helping people in times of need is gratifying".
For Jessica Holden, volunteering isn't new. The obstetrics and gynaecology registrar at South West Health Care has been involved in international humanitarian organisations such as Doctors Without Borders, Medical Santo in Vanuatu, Medical Teams International and Access Aid International.
She joined the SES in Cairns in July 2018 and transferred to Warrnambool in February last year.
"My uncle has volunteered with the Mirboo North SES unit for 30 years and always encouraged me to join," she said.
"I heard great stories from him about the rewarding work, and thought it would be a great way to get to known a new community after I moved."
Warrnambool's April Ross joined the unit in 2018 following the St Patrick's Day Fires.
She said she wanted to "be able to help and give back to my community in any way that I could".
"I have learnt so many new things that I would never have known about before joining SES," she said.
"I just love being a part of the team with everybody. We are just like a big family."
Steve Douglass, who works in civil construction, joined the Warrnambool unit about 12 months ago.
"I joined as it was something family members had done in the past. Being civic-minded, I felt it was a way of giving something back to the community," he said.
Marita Roennfeldt is a NDIS casual support worker who for years wanted to volunteer but was juggling single parenting and full-time work.
She finally joined in late 2018 after she passed a "massive wall of fire burning through the scrubby bush" while on a bike ride back from Ballarat.
"My brain kept wandering to all the times there were natural disasters or incidents like car crashes where I felt compelled to do something but didn't know what or how I could assist," she said.
"I have an eclectic range of certificates and licenses that I thought could be put to good use but didn't know exactly what I was looking for until I went to a volunteer expo at South West TAFE."
Ms Roennfeldt said she loved her fellow volunteers, the "incredible sense of community and belonging" and learning skills that could save a life.
"I'm lucky to have found SES and proud to be a small part of such a great team with exceptional heart, run so professionally and organised," she said.
"I couldn't recommend it enough."
Warrnambool SES unit controller Giorgio Palmeri said there were 40 active members at the unit.
"The more members we have on hand, the more chances we have to help the Warrnambool community and surrounding areas," he said.
"Having 40 members that are active and responding to jobs religiously is a great feeling and it is good for Warrnambool to know they are in safe hands."
Mr Palmeri said he was "really happy" with the new members that joined in the last 12 or so months.
"They are very proactive in responding to jobs and they're very involved in training," he said.
"Every course that becomes available, they are very keen and eager to apply for it and that is very great."
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