Eurobodalla has its first full-time emergency officer

Eurobodalla has its first full-time local emergency management officer, with Angus Barnes stepping into the role last week.

Mr Barnes new responsibilities are many and varied; reviewing emergency response procedures, developing and implementing emergency management plans alongside other emergency services like the RFS and SES, and – as Eurobodalla Council’s representative during natural disasters – supporting response agencies and the community with Council resources as directed by the lead response agency.

General manager Warwick Winn said the upgrade from part-time to full-time position reflected both community sentiment and Council’s commitment to preparing the shire ahead of natural disasters.

“Angus Barnes is a seasoned professional, coming to us with 21 years at the NSW Rural Fire Service – from volunteering with his local brigade to leading as district manager for the south-east region,” Mr Winn said.

“He’s been on the ground through countless fires, worked logistics, operations, planning and as incident controller – here in NSW but also across the country and in other countries too. He’s a straight talker and the ideal person to engage with both emergency service groups and the community.”

Mr Barnes said his first job was to review all the emergency plans that currently exist for the shire.

“There also needs to be a focus on pre-emergency preparation – what can we do ahead of time to mitigate impact from natural disasters,” Mr Barnes said.

“I also want to raise community understanding of Council’s roles and responsibilities – before, during and after disaster – compared to those of the emergency response agencies.”

Already Mr Barnes has attended an evacuation centre exercise hosted by the Department of Community and Justice at the Moruya Basketball Stadium, where he provided feedback to relief-agency staff (Red Cross, Anglicare, NSW Health, Local Land Services) roleplaying detailed evacuation-centre scenarios.

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