In the event of a significant emergency this summer, Horsham Rural City Council relief centres will operate differently due to Coronavirus restrictions.
In most disasters, an Emergency Relief Centre (ERC) is established to provide information about the emergency and referrals available to help a community cope.
While most services will still be available, there will be no physical relief centre for people to attend.
Wimmera Emergency Management Co-ordinator John Hutchins said social distancing rules meant it was not possible to establish the usually crowded meeting place that people may be familiar with following a disaster.
“Instead, there will be a virtual response involving emergency management staff working hard behind the scenes to provide affected people with information and deliver access to relief support services to assist with their immediate needs,” Mr Hutchins said.
“If you have been displaced from your home it is important to register via the Red Cross “Register Find Reunite” website and then contact your local Council if you require further support or information. It is also very important to complete your redi-plan and remember to plan for the relocation of your pets.”
“We are confident that the virtual ERC will provide the support that our community needs during an emergency. We will continue to review and adapt its content as the situation evolves to ensure that it stays informative, responsive and relevant,” he said.
Mr Hutchins said, during an emergency, people who are unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms, should isolate from others and wear a face covering and get tested as soon as possible.
“If you are in quarantine or isolation due to coronavirus, you can leave your home if you are in an emergency or your home is unsafe – but try to get back into self-isolation as soon as you safely can,” he said.