A Decade of Advancement: Shepparton Search & Rescue Squad from 2010 to 2019

The 2010s marked a period of significant progress and development for the Shepparton Search & Rescue Squad (SSRS), marked by major acquisitions, facility upgrades, and notable recognitions that underscored their essential role in community safety.

2010-2012: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Facilities

The decade began with the acquisition of a Mitsubishi Triton 4WD Dual Cab Ute, enhancing the squad's response capabilities. This vehicle was designated as the main response and take-home vehicle, streamlining operations significantly.

During 2010-2012, Shepparton experienced seasonal major flooding, with SSRS members heavily involved in rescue operations and sandbagging efforts, demonstrating their critical role in disaster response.

In 2011, the growing needs for space due to an increase in equipment and vehicles led SSRS to move to a new address at 15 Dudley Street, Shepparton, departing their long-time location at the Shepparton Showgrounds.

2012: A Year of Celebrations and Enhancements

The year 2012 was pivotal for SSRS. They received a generous donation of a new inflatable rescue boat, complete with trailer and motor, bolstering their water rescue capabilities. The same year, SSRS celebrated the official opening of their state-of-the-art facility at the new Dudley Street address. This facility significantly improved their operational efficiency and provided ample space for their expanding resources.

2012 also marked the 40th Anniversary of SSRS, celebrated with a dinner that not only commemorated four decades of service but also honored founding members Eddie Jezewski and Frank Gaylard with 40 Years of Service awards. Gary Lovell received the Emergency Service Medal as part of the Australia Day honours.

Continued Growth and Recognition

In 2014, SSRS continued to upgrade their fleet with the purchase of a Ford Ranger 4WD Dual Cab Ute and an Isuzu 450 Twin Cab Ridge Truck, the latter serving as the main vehicle for storm and medium rescue operations. That year also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), enhancing cooperative efforts across the region.

The construction of additional facilities in 2015, including a new storage shed and an administrative office, further facilitated the squad’s operations.

Honors and Community Recognition

In 2016, the Member of the Year award was renamed the Jezewski Family Member of the Year award, celebrating the enduring contributions of the Jezewski family to SSRS. That same year, SSRS was invited to contribute to the Road Crash Rescue Policy & Performance Advisory Group, recognizing their expertise in road crash rescue operations. 

Technological Advancements

An $85,000 grant in 2016 enabled SSRS to acquire a high-tech light tower, greatly enhancing their ability to manage scenes at major road crashes, large fires, and police crime scenes with improved lighting and safety.

Continued Excellence in Service

The decade closed with recognition of SSRS members for their exceptional service, with Ross Wilkinson in 2017 and Michael D’Elia in 2019 receiving the Emergency Service Medal as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Throughout the 2010s, the Shepparton Search & Rescue Squad not only expanded their capabilities but also cemented their reputation as a vital component of community safety, ready to meet the challenges of the future with resilience and dedication.