Mums' can-do attitude

Sunday Times, Perth
12 May 2013, by Elizabeth Fabri

Nicola Wilkinson is a wife, a mother of four and a full-time corrections officer in the state's prison system.

She's also a volunteer for the State Emergency Services and spends 12 hours a week managing the Bayswater unit.

Ms Wilkinson, who has been with the SES for five years, is just one of the 2000 West Australians who give up part of their spare time to ensure their communities are looked after in disasters.

SES volunteers also carry out land searches and cliff and cave rescues. And in some remote areas, the SES is the first on the scene of car crashes.

Andrae Moore, 32, signed up to be a volunteer at 15.

"I joined because my family were a part of it. I saw what they did and what they learnt and how much fun they had while doing it while helping the community at the same time," she said.

Ms Moor said it was important to set an example for her three children.

"Volunteering in general is important to show your kids how to be community-minded and that getting out there is a rewarding experience," she said.

Grandmother Sonia Fixter, 62, said he SES team "were like a family" and always looked after one another.

"In 2010 after the big hail storm our house was badly affected," she said. "We had water come into the family room, but there were over 100 calls to the SES so we only did the essential stuff as everybody needed help so we went to help other people. Three days later we had the time to clean up our own house."

Tamsin Collins juggles her SES role with raising a 15-month-old child and a full-time job.

"I see my commitment to the SES as a long-time thing and give more when I can and less when I can't," Ms Collins said.