The History of Victoria SES
The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) started in 1950 as the Victoria Civil Defence Organisation.
The organisation was originally established to act as a volunteer based civil defence agency that could be quickly activated in the event of war. In the 1960s this role was enhanced to include management of peacetime disasters. In the 1970s, the Commonwealth also shifted its focus from civil defence to more general disaster management.
In 1972, legislation formally confirming the Victoria Civil Defence Organisation’s power was passed and the Victorian Headquarters established in 1973.
The Victoria Civil Defence Organisation was renamed the Victoria State Emergency Service in 1975 to conform with other states and was established to serve as a general emergency management agency.
Today the SES functions as a volunteer based emergency service across the State of Victoria. There are more than 5500 committed and dedicated volunteers around the state who provide these services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
VICSES undertakes a wide variety of roles including flood response, severe storms, earthquakes, road accident rescue as well as search and rescue.
VICSES also provides a support role to other emergency service agencies including the Victoria Police, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority and Ambulance Victoria. VICSES also has a major planning role providing support and guidance to Government departments and municipalities, as well as providing an audit role on all municipal emergency plans.