Queensland Fire and Emergency Service leaders, Central Queensland State Emergency Service volunteers and their families came together to celebrate the 2020 SES awards at Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service leaders, Central Queensland State Emergency Service volunteers and their families came together to celebrate the 2020 SES awards at Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill

Sex dolls to cyclones: Life in CQ’s best SES unit

A SMALL band of volunteers is ready for any mission, from cyclones and storms to abandoned sex dolls.

Bowen's State Emergency Service Group was named as the Central Queensland unit of the year, as part of SES Week celebrations.

SES Area Controller Selina Neill said the seaside volunteers represented the best qualities in the orange army.

"For their continued professionalism, preparedness and positive culture that fully aligns with the QFES values of trust, respect, integrity, loyalty and courage," Ms Neill said.

SES Area controller Selina Neill at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour presenting the 2020 Central Queensland SES awards. Picture: Zizi Averill
SES Area controller Selina Neill at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour presenting the 2020 Central Queensland SES awards. Picture: Zizi Averill

Bowen Group SES members Daniel Donovan and Logan Thompson accepted the award on Saturday on behalf of the unit's 18 registered volunteers.

Mr Thompson said the highly organised SES shed was why his group had taken out the top prize.

"Everything at the base has a designated spot," he said.

"Everyone knows where everything is, so you can grab and go.

"We can be out the door within 15-20 minutes."

But he said this lifesaving efficiency has not yet been fully put to the test this year.

Bowen Group SES members Daniel Donovan and Logan Thompson accepted the award for the Central Queensland unit of the year, as part of SES week celebrations at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill
Bowen Group SES members Daniel Donovan and Logan Thompson accepted the award for the Central Queensland unit of the year, as part of SES week celebrations at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill

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Mr Thompson said there had only been one deployment since January, to help set up a police headquarters after a body was found dumped at the Bowen Mango.

After helping with agency support and preparing for a search and rescue, Mr Thompson said with a laugh that forensics officers soon realised the body was a life-size, anatomically correct sex doll.

But he said the salacious mission would not be the last one for the beachside community as storm season approaches.

"Everyone needs to be prepared," Mr Thompson said.

"We've been through enough cyclones to know what will happen.

"Don't put yourself in danger, because that puts us in danger."

Mr Donovan said his volunteers were prepared for the oncoming storm and cyclone season, and reminded residents to prepare for the La Nina system.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service leaders, Central Queensland State Emergency Service volunteers and their families came together to celebrate the 2020 SES awards at Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service leaders, Central Queensland State Emergency Service volunteers and their families came together to celebrate the 2020 SES awards at Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill

"We know the generator works, we know the chainsaws will run," Mr Donovan said.

"(But) if you haven't checked your house for a leak, that 100-200mm will overwhelm it."

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Bowen Group SES members Logan Thompson and Daniel Donovan accepted the award for the Central Queensland unit of the year, as part of SES week celebrations at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill
Bowen Group SES members Logan Thompson and Daniel Donovan accepted the award for the Central Queensland unit of the year, as part of SES week celebrations at the Mantra Mackay, Mackay Harbour. Picture: Zizi Averill

Mr Thompson said the award comes as Bowen prepares to lose its local controller, as the role would be amalgamated under the Whitsunday Group.

He said the Bowen controller, Christine Persello, would become to the deputy local controller for the Whitsundays.

Mr Thompson said the process of merging the two units had been running for the past 12-18 months.


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