March 10-16, 2024: Issue 617


Inspirational leaders recognised with NSW SES Awards on international women's day: Warringah-Pittwater Unit award

Photo: NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit members; Jiani Chen, Sam Colwell, Sarah Carrington, Lynsey Edwards, Juliet Smith, Michelle Puhl, Katrina Roberts, Sara Wakeling, and Jenny Parkes were recognised for their 'Women Helping Women' initiative - some of the girls are pictured here at the Awards ceremony with NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM

Inspiring women in the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) have been recognised at an awards ceremony for their contribution and accomplishments in emergency management and response this International Women’s Day, Friday March 8 2024.   

A group of nine women from the NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit were recognised with an Initiative Award for their “Women Helping Women” workshops, aimed to empower local women with vital home maintenance skills. Through structured sessions, participants gained insights into roof structure, tradie engagement, and emergency preparedness, which helped foster confidence and empowerment.  

The recognition came as part of the inaugural Women in NSW SES Awards, which highlight the exceptional accomplishments of females across all areas of the Service, and recognise the great contributions they make day in, day out.  

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said she was delighted to celebrate female volunteers and members who help communities across the state and make the NSW SES a great place to work.  

“There are more than 70 female Unit Commanders across the state, and a healthy representation of women in leadership roles within the staff contingent of the service,” Commissioner York said.  

“The NSW SES proudly boasts females in all levels of leadership, as well as many frontline roles including chainsaw, flood rescue, storm response, vertical rescue, peer support, chaplaincy and logistics staff, just to name a few.” 

NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Damien Johnston said the awards highlighted the work of members and staff who have demonstrated remarkable dedication, talent, and perseverance. 

“By specifically acknowledging the accomplishments of our female members, we strive to break barriers, inspire others, and build a stronger and more inclusive NSW SES community,” he said.  

Waverley-Woollahra Unit Deputy Commander Suzy Domingues, who was named NSW SES Volunteer Woman of the Year, said it was exciting to be part of a Service that has an extensive number of women in leadership positions.  

“We’re showing the next generation, and the younger cohort of staff and volunteers, that women can go a long way,” Inspector Domingues said.  

“Embracing women as equals and recognising that they can do what men can do is great. There isn’t a role that is off limits for women in the NSW SES.

"I'm supported by a fantastic male Unit Commander, and other female leaders in our unit, without whom I would be able to achieve what we have." 

Inspector Domingues was given the prestigious award for her visionary leadership which challenges the norms to actively recruit, coach and develop female members.  

Deputy Commissioner Johnston said Inspector Domingues commitment to advancing women in leadership has transformed workplace culture, setting a precedent for inclusivity and excellence within the NSW SES. 

NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year was awarded to Director of Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance, Nicola Clark.  

An Outstanding Service Award – Highly Commended Certificate was awarded to Sofala Unit Commander Natalie Cole for going above and beyond as both a Community First Responder and Road Crash Rescue Operator.  

Inspector Cole’s relentless commitment to ensuring access to critical first responders, coupled with her exemplary performance and unwavering work ethic, makes her an invaluable asset to her community.  

Commissioner York, who was the first female Commissioner of an emergency service in NSW, congratulated all award recipients and thanked them for their contribution to the NSW SES.  

“It’s a privilege to lead a Service which is full of strong female leaders, from Unit Commanders to Directors and a Deputy Commissioner, who are dedicated to saving lives and creating safer communities across the state,” Commissioner York said. 


The full list of award recipients are:  

  • NSW SES Woman Volunteer of the Year: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Commander, Waverley-Woollahra Unit
  • NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance  
  • Initiative Award: NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit members: Sam Colwell, Sara Wakeling, Sarah Carrington, Lynsey Edwards, Juliet Smith, Michelle Puhl, Jiani Chen, Katrina Roberts and Jenny Parkes.
  • Outstanding Service - Highly commended: Stacey Dengate, Membership Coordinator, Dapto Unit and Natalie Cole, Unit Commander, Sofala Unit.  
  • Champion of Change Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance. 
  • Emerging Woman Leader Award – Winners (x2): Brandy Timewell, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit and Nikki Ristoski, Deputy Unit Commander, Shellharbour Unit.  
  • Emerging Woman Leader - Highly Commended: Kirra Waine, Senior Project Officer, Emergency Management.
  • Outstanding Woman Leader Award - Winner: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Unit Commander, Waverley – Woollahra Unit.
  • Outstanding Woman Leader Award – Highly Commended: Therese Coutinho, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit.  

From February 2023 Community News

NSW SES Warringah / Pittwater Unit: Women Helping Women

Exciting news; Back by popular demand, our “Women helping women” free public workshops will be offered in March and April this year. 

Don’t miss your opportunity to gain practical knowledge and be prepared in emergency situations. We promise it is going to be a fun and engaging session, places are limited. 

Registration is essential, click the link below to secure your spot. 

If you know any woman who will be interested, feel free to share the info. 
We look forward to seeing you there!

Thunderstorms Close Wakehurst Parkway - Local SES Units Respond To Calls For Help 

The NSW State Emergency Service - Operational Statistics Update for February 22nd, 2023

Severe thunderstorms impacted Sydney Metropolitan, Central West and Southern Tablelands yesterday. 

In total, NSW SES received 377 (227 Sydney Metro) incidents in the last 24 hours (to 5am). 12 (11 Sydney Metro) Flood Rescues (Mainly involving cars driving into floodwater).  

Focus areas:

  • Warringah Pittwater (and Manly Unit) – 63
  • Orange – 42
  • Queanbeyan – 33
  • Ku-ring-gai – 21
  • Sutherland – 17

The NSW SES Warringah / Pittwater Unit reported it had been a busy night for both the Warringah- Pittwater and NSW SES Manly Units:

''We currently have 4 of our vehicles attending to jobs, along with NSW SES Manly Unit, and several RFS units assisting us. In addition to this we have  our Flood Rescue  team along with Flood Rescue Teams from Manly and NSW SES Ku-Ring-Gai Unit

There has been 44 Requests for Assistance tonight, including 4 Flood Rescues. 

We had 60mm of rain in a 1 hour period, which caused multiple roads to flood. There is more rain expected over night. So please take care.''

By the time the volunteers members of these units could put relax again and dry off they had attended to 63 requests for assistance.

NSW SES Warringah / Pittwater Unit volunteer members. Pic: NSW SES M-W Unit

If you need emergency assistance due to flood/storm damage, call NSW SES on 132 500. If life threatening, call 000.

Parkway floods along multiple points

Live Traffic reported that the Wakehurst Parkway closed at 8:26pm on Tuesday February 21st 2023 - it had not reopened 12 hours later - 8:27am Wednesday February 22nd 2023. 

The map from Live Traffic shows the Parkway has flooded at three places along its length, between Dreadnought Road at Frenchs Forest and Wimbledon Avenue at North Narrabeen:

Warringah/Pittwater SES at Australia Day Breakfast 2024 at Newport

Warringah/Pittwater SES response unit, commissioned in 2023