ACT State Emergency Service

Volunteering is open to everyone with opportunities to suit individual needs and capabilities

ACT State Emergency Service

About Us

The ACTSES comprises over 360 dedicated volunteers, based out of 7 operational units. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all professions. 

Membership of the ACTSES is open to anyone with a passion to do the right thing within their community. While most of our volunteers undertake operational roles, ACTSES has a flexible approach to volunteering, and offers different positions to suit a range of interests and skills. There is a role for everybody:

  • Field Operations Members – functions performed by these operational volunteers include storm and water damage mitigation and response, radio communications, operations centre support, search, navigation, scene lighting, first aid and community engagement.
  • Support Operations Members – provide a broad range of support roles including first aid support, general welfare to volunteers, community engagement support, incident management support, communications support and administrative tasks.

Want to learn more about the ACTSES? Click here.

Profile photo of SES volunteer Terry with a pull quote from his story.

Click this link to read Terry’s story.

The ACTSES is no longer accepting applications for the 2024 Recruit College.

Volunteering with the ACTSES

Being a member of the ACTSES requires a strong commitment. 

As a volunteer with the ACTSES, you should expect to:

  • Assist all members of our community,
  • Assist the community at any time of the day or night, and
  • Get dirty, tired, wet, hot, or cold – sometimes all at once!

Service values 

The ACTSES is part of the ACT Public Service, and as such its volunteers demonstrate the values of:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
Initial Commitments

The initial training undertaken by ACTSES volunteers is a significant commitment. It is expected that those applicants wishing to join are available to attend mandatory training between March and August. Here is a brief outline of what a successful applicant joining can expect:

Section Timeline Section text
Recruitment Opens October  
Receive Service Overview      January The service overview provides applicants with additional information regarding the functions, membership requirements, operational tempo, fitness requirements, and an overview of the training process.
Attend a ‘Come and Try Day’      February The ‘Come and Try Day’ is an opportunity for applicants to engage with ACTSES volunteers in a more personal manner.
Visit a Unit     February – March Unit visits are an opportunity for applicants to engage with different ACTSES units and determine which unit they would like to join.
Receive Letter of Offer     March If successful, applicants will receive a letter of offer to join the ACTSES.
Fitness Testing April Additional information regarding the fitness requirements for ACTSES can be found within the Requirements section below.
Recruit College      April – August The Recruit College runs from April – August and comprises all the initial skills training required to become an operational member of the service.


Ongoing Commitments

It is acknowledged and understood that volunteers’ main priorities are family and work. On average, an ACTSES volunteer spends five hours a week ‘in orange’. Below is an indication of minimum attendance requirements:

Category Indicative Minimum Attendance Requirements
Operational Member An operational member must attend a minimum of six training/community education/operational activities per six-month period.
Unit Support Officer  No minimum attendance requirements.
Junior Member A junior member must attend a minimum of six training/community education/operational activities per six-month period.


All ACTSES members attend training on a weekly basis. In addition to these scheduled training commitments, volunteers are required to maintain the currency of their skills by attending community events and operations related to their position within the Service.

Both Field Operations and Operations Support members respond to callouts within their communities, across the ACT, and sometimes inter-state as needed.


The rewards are many – learning new skills, keeping fit, gaining valuable qualifications, earning respect within the community, having fun, and being active as part of a dedicated team. Additionally, you can also gain: 

  • A great sense of achievement,
  • Many unique and interesting experiences and opportunities,
  • Nationally accredited training, 
  • The opportunity to meet likeminded people and make lifelong friends,
  • The opportunity to make a difference in your community, and
  • The opportunity to receive formal recognition including ACTSES, ACT Government and national honours and awards.
Training Opportunities

Members of the ACTSES deliver a broad range of capabilities to the community.

Training is comprehensive and is aligned to national units of competency, mostly from the Public Safety Training Package. Training and assessment are provided by subject matter experts and nationally qualified trainers and assessors, many of whom are ACTSES volunteers.

Training Opportunities Unit of Competency Unit Name
Core Skills PUACOM001 Communicate in the workplace
Core Skills PUACOM002 Provide services to clients
Core Skills PUAWHS001 Follow defined work, health and safety policies and procedures
Core Skills PUATEA001 Work in a team
Core Skills PUATEA004 Work effectively in a public safety organisation
Core Skills PUAOPE013 Operate communications systems and equipment
Asbestos Awareness 11084NAT Course in asbestos awareness
First Aid HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
First Aid HLTAID010 Provide basic emergency life support
First Aid HLTAID011 Provide First Aid
Bushfire Awareness 22541VIC Course in Basic Wildfire Awareness
AIIMS Awareness 22611VIC Course in Awareness of the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS)
Storm and Water Damage Operator PUASES008 Undertake storm and water damage operations
Storm and Water Damage Operator PUASES013 Undertake storm and water damage operations performed at heights
Storm and Water Damage Operator PUAEQU001 Prepare, maintain and test response equipment
Storm and Water Damage Operator PUAWHS002 Maintain safety at an incident scene
Land Search Rescue PUASAR027 Undertake land search rescue
Land Search Rescue PUALAW001 Protect and preserve incident scene
Team Leader PUAOPE015 Conduct briefings and debriefings
Team Leader PUAOPE012 Control a Level 1 Incident
Navigation PUAOPE014 Navigate to an incident
Service Driver PUAVEH001 Drive vehicles under operational conditions
4WD Operator TLIC0023 Operate four-wheel drive vehicle
Chainsaw Operator FWPCOT2273 Trim and cut felled trees 
Chainsaw Operator FWPCOT3347 Fell trees manually (intermediate)
Chainsaw Operator FWPCOT3348 Fell trees manually (advanced)
Incident Management PUAOPE018 Control a Level 2 incident
Incident Management PUAOPE023 Manage operations for a Level 2 incident
Incident Management PUAFIR502 Develop incident control strategies
Incident Management PUAOPE025 Manage planning for a complex incident
Incident Management PUAOPE022 Manage logistics for a complex Incident
Incident Management 22612VIC Course in the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS)
Aviation PUAFIR217 Work safely around aircraft
Aviation PUAFIR003 Manage aviation support operations at air base
Aviation Internal Qualification Aviation radio operator
Aviation Internal Qualification Air base manager
Aviation Internal Qualification Staging area operations
Service Boat Operator Internal Qualification General boat license



Compliance Requirements

  • The ACT Working with Vulnerable People card application can take up to 21 days to process. Therefore, prospective members are advised to apply for this card as early as possible.
  • A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is required to obtain qualifications completed through the ACTSES. If you do not have a USI you can apply for one through the following link:
  • A National Police Check is required.

Age Requirements

ACTSES accepts members from the age of 16 (with parental consent) and from 18 for general membership.

Junior members are required to have 2:1 supervision at all times. Participation in operations is under the direction of the associated commander

Health Requirements

As part of the application process prospective members must provide a medical report from their medical practitioner clearing them to undertake physical activities. A copy of the medical clearance will be provided following completion of the EOI to join. 

Fitness Requirements

A reasonable degree of fitness is required for most roles, although ACTSES welcomes membership enquiries from people with a range of abilities.

Role Role Description Level Requirements
Operational Support Minimum requirement for Community Education, Peer Support Officers, Unit Support Officers None/Light 1.6km in under 16 minutes
Field Operator Minimum requirement for Operational Members Moderate 3.2km carrying 11kg in under 30 minutes