THE Ulladulla SES volunteers have had to adapt to the challenges thrown at them by COVID-19.
The Ulladulla SES, in the middle of recent floods and damage left by fierce storms, has not let COVID-19 prevent them from responding to hundreds of calls for assistance.
The group has responded well to all the COVID obstacles thrown at them.
Ulladulla SRES unit controller Tracey Povest is proud of the way her team of volunteers has responded to the pandemic's hurdles.
Tracey admits dealing with the COVID-19 situation is a balancing act.
The SES, like many other organisations, has signage around their building, makes hand sanitiser available and force people to sign in when they come to the base - with their volunteers also wearing masks during training sessions on Wednesday.
Headquarters also undergoes regular "deep cleans" as part of COVID safety protocols.
"We are really strict in the vehicles and we COVID clean every vehicle after each job with the appropriate disinfectant and cloths," the unit controller said.
"We have a whole heap of little systems we put in place so we can maintain our connection with our community."
The group's view is "if I look after me first - then I can look after other people".
"We are going through those processes automatically and we put those processes in place to minimise the risk to our members," Tracey said.
During the peak of the two storms, assistance came down from Sydney based SES units and COVID protocol applied.
"We had help from Sydney and we know Sydney is a hotspot and so we even go to the extent where the teams from Sydney sit at a different table and eat at a different time slot," she said.
"They were fine with this because they accept this is all part of COVID. It's not like we don't talk to them - it's just they are a couple of metres away at a separate table.
"They stay together as a group and we stay together as a group."
There is an obvious reason to be so careful.
"We don't want to be responsible for bringing in an infection into the town," she said.
"We go the extra mile because we really appreciate the extra help."
Everyone who comes to the area to help has to complete a "COVID I am safe" check before can go on jobs.
The unit also works out ways to make sure new volunteers get the training they need despite COVID-19.
"Until recently we moved all our training online," the unit commander said.
"We had to redesign all our training and training delivery so we could keep our new members, in particular, rolling with their training."
Recently they came back for face-to-face training.
Tracey said the new volunteers were keen to learn.
Keep an eye out for our next story with our 'Angels in Orange' - we get an update, among other things, on how the volunteers are handling what has been a busy year.