Volunteer SES members and the general public have been disappointed by the theft of important equipment from the Wodonga Unit on Victoria Cross Parade.
A member arriving at the unit at 11am on Friday found a back door open at the rear of the property and the lock substantially damaged.
"He contacted me and we notified our regional office and the police," operations deputy controller Cam O'Brien said.
"Once the Wodonga police crime scene unit came through at about lunchtime we did a stock-take of what was missing.
"Our core business as SES is storm damage, and there were five chainsaws stolen as well as some road-rescue equipment.
"That road-rescue equipment is fairly vital at crashes."
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Several Stihl chainsaws, a Waceo car fridge, Makita battery operated drills, saws, grinder, batteries, Pelican brand portable lighting and hydraulic rescue equipment, known as the "Jaws of Life" were taken, valued at $20,000.
Mr O'Brien said the equipment was used at most call-outs and Wodonga members had borrowed a spare truck from Tallangatta to use in the interim.
"Until the equipment is replaced we'll have reduced capacity and be calling in the likes of Chiltern and Yackandandah into town for any jobs we do have locally," he said.
"We maintain our response capability by re-allocating vehicles and resources from elsewhere.
"Some of the smaller units do struggle with particularly daytime responses, so it can pull them out of town for long and cause quite a few issues.
"Road rescue stuff will still be covered, but it will be reduced capacity for storm damage and those type of non life-threatening responses."
Mr O'Brien was thankful no vehicles had been damaged but said the theft was hurtful.
"All of our members have been made aware of it and you can see from our Facebook page the general public is pretty upset by what has happened too," he said.
"We submitted our stock-take list to state last night and they'll work through that with our logistics centre and insurance to get it all replaced.
"It could potentially be a number weeks, if not a number of months, before it all gets fully replaced.
"If anyone was going past the unit between 7pm Thursday night and 11am on Friday and saw anything suspicious, or even in the nights prior, or if they do see equipment that could be ours should speak to police."
Wodonga detectives assessed the crime scene on Friday, dusting for fingerprints and taking copies of CCTV footage.
The incident came as Wodonga SES were preparing to host peers from as far as Murchison for the Regional Road Crash Rescue course.
The training happens only annually or a couple times a year.
Mr O'Brien said thankfully the course could still go ahead with the use of the Tallangatta unit's gear and the approval of police.
Report any information to Wodonga police (02) 6049 2600 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000