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How long will it take for the SES to arrive?

SES members are unpaid volunteers who leave their families, homes, jobs and other commitments to assist vulnerable members of the community when they need it most. Members of the community can help the SES by helping themselves.

Availability of the SES depends on:

  • who and where are the most vulnerable people
  • how large/severe is the event/disaster
  • how many people and houses are affected
  • have the volunteers also been affected and are they helping their families and neighbours
  • can they get to you
  • how many volunteers are available, can they be released from their jobs
  • and many other factors



Tarping a roof will only occur when absolutely required due to the process taking lengthy periods of time. Instead SES ask that you:

  • Use buckets to catch leaking water
  • move furniture to reduce damage
  • internally tarp your furniture

SES do not collect tarps after use however they can be returned to your local SES Group via your nearest Regional Office.



SES Members are specially trained to perform specific functions to respond to disasters and emergencies such as storms, floods and cyclones. Their primary function is to help vulnerable members of their communities.

SES, as a not-for-profit organisation, is not to perform services that should otherwise be undertaken by contractors i.e. they are not a free resource available to the community.

They are trained to chainsaw trees that have already fallen if they are endangering a person or blocking their ability to exit or enter a property. They are not trained or permitted to chainsaw trees that have not fallen. Trees that look like they may fall will need a contractor.


As a property owner

SES members carry out temporary repairs only.

Property owners should seek professional trade's people to permanently repair any damage caused by storms or floods.

It is the responsibility of the landowner to remove the debris from their property.


SES do not provide sandbags or tarps.

The public purchase their own first aid kit just in case, they don't get it free from the QAS, nor do they get it topped up free from the QAS or the hospital.

If they need professional QAS assistance they call 000 and the QAS get to them ASAP and do a great job using their own QAS supplies and bandages.

Similar concept for fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. People can do the right thing and prepare themselves for storms by purchasing their own emergency & evacuation kits, sandbags and tarps etc. Unfortunately the SES cannot afford to provide these for free, nor should they compete with private enterprise sales in doing so. If the public need emergency storm/flood assistance they can phone SES 132 500 and the SES will respond using their supplies of sandbags, silicon, plastic, tarps, etc.

Prior to or after an event SES will also provide sandbags and even tarps to the public at the specific request of the Local Disaster Coordinator. This is normally done because Council and commercial supplies have been exhausted.

Many councils have, through their disaster plans, triggers that see council provided free sandbags made available at strategic locations - generally not at SES buildings, but in some locations it can be agreed that adjacent to SES buildings present the best solution.
Used sandbags should be disposed of appropriately. Refer to our brochure for instructions.


As a Tenant

It is very important that tenants advise their landlords of issues such as leaking roofs or uncleared guttering so they may be tended to. Alternatively residents can contact the Residential Tenancies Authority for assistance.


Where do I ask... Where do I find?

Life Threatening Emergency:

Triple Zero (000)

Cyclones preparedness and safety advice

Emergency Evacuation during a flood event:

132 500

River Updates:

Local media OR Transport Main Roads OR
Local government OR

Road Closures:

131940 OR

Vehicle breakdown:

A friend OR a roadside assist provider

Non-Emergency Transport:

A friend OR a taxi


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