Frequently Asked Questions

Where is my nearest Unit?
How do I join?
What roles are available?
Do I have to provide my own uniform?
How often will I have to train?
Are my personal expenses covered?
How much time do I have to commit?

As a volunteer am I covered for any injury, loss or damage?

Where is my nearest Unit?

The State Emergency Service (SES) has 67 Units across South Australia. The SES is the ONLY volunteer emergency service to operate across the entire metropolitan area as well as in rural areas. Phone 1300 364 587 to find out if there is a Unit near you. Volunteering for the SES is a great way to meet new people and get involved in the community.

How do I join?

You can join the SES in two ways either online or over the phone. To register your interest online click Join SES to register your interest using the online form. You can also phone 1300 364 587 for a referral to your local Unit. to find out about becoming a Cadet click here to visit the SES cadets page.

What roles are available?

It is a team effort at the SES and we need lots of team players with a variety of skills. Not everyone has to hang off cliffs or cut people out of cars - we also need people to operate radios, observe, search, navigate, operate plant and machinery and lots more. 

The SES is the control agency for storm and flood response under the SA Fire & Emergency Services Act and also provides a broad range or rescue services to the community of South Australia. Note: All roles are specific to local Unit needs and may not be available in all areas. Phone 1300 364 587 for a referral to your local Unit who can provide you with more information about local requirements. 

There are many roles available in SES, and some are very specific to their location, such as Mines Rescue in Coober Pedy. Some of the roles include:

  • Communications
  • Reconnaissance
  • Land Search and Rescue
  • Storm/Flood Mitigation
  • Marine Rescue
  • Air supply operations (Drop Masters)
  • Air Observers
  • Road Crash Rescue
  • Vertical Rescue
  • Confined Space Rescue
  • Dog Operations Unit
  • Mounted Cadre (Horses)
  • Mountain Bike Reconnaissance
  • Structural collapse (USAR)

There are also a range of support roles that may be available in Units, such as:

  • Administration Support
  • Finance
  • Recruitment Coordinators
  • Cadet Coordinators
  • Special Events Coordinators
  • Public and Media Liaison Coordinators

Do I have to provide my own uniform?

No, all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as overalls, boots, gloves and helmets are provided.

How often will I have to train?

Training is usually held once a week, for three hours in the evening. Some Units train once a fortnight or monthly, depending on local needs. 

Are my personal expenses covered?

The SES provides all of the training and PPE you will need to do the job.

How much time do I have to commit?

Usually 3 hours per week for training plus occasional training weekends and operational callouts if you are joining the rescue crew. The amount of callouts depends on how busy your Unit is. If you are undertaking a role other than rescue, your time commitments will be different. 

Volunteers respond to operational callouts as they occur (day and night). It is hard to predict how often this will be, but the SES is generally at its busiest during periods of extreme weather, in particular during floods and storms.


As a volunteer am I covered for any injury, loss or damage?

Volunteers are covered for Civil Liability as per the Insurance arrangements between SAICORP (Agency Agreement) and the SES.   


The Volunteers Protection Act 2001, under section "Protection from Liability"; states –
A Volunteer incurs no "personal" liability for an act or omission. This means that instead of the liability lying against the individual (Volunteer) it would be against the Agency, in this case the SES.


In respect to Personal Accident cover, SES Volunteers are prescribed "Workers" and therefore covered under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986