How prepared are you?

Family sitting on grey couch creating emergency plan surrounded by emergency kit items

With increasing extreme weather events, as experienced this week across Victoria, Indigo Shire will roll-out a series of community workshops to help residents better prepare for emergencies.

The First 72 Hours workshops, designed to educate community members about their responsibilities in an emergency and how they can be prepared, are being held in 14 locations and online, between March and October.

The workshops focus on helping individuals and community groups plan to ensure their own needs can be met if emergency services are unable to provide basic necessities such as food, water and shelter in the first three days of an emergency event.

Mayor, Sophie Price says following the Black Summer fires in 2019/20 and the flooding and storm events of 2022, improving community resilience to cope with the impacts of emergencies is critical.

“Unfortunately, emergency events are on the increase, particularly as more extreme weather patterns come into play, so it’s critically important that our communities are empowered to respond appropriately in an effort to minimise panic, stress and trauma.” Cr Price says.

Council’s Community Hub and Outreach Officer, Jessica Oldmeadow, who will deliver the workshops, says they are a valuable opportunity for residents to learn why it is so important to make an emergency preparedness plan.

“Whether we’re talking about a flood, fire or storm, there are lots of existing resources that explain how to make an emergency plan, but many in our community fail to understand why a plan is so important, and as a result, they haven’t taken the step of making one.”

The workshops, made possible through funding from Emergency Recovery Victoria, will also help participants plan for scenarios they might not have considered, such as how to ensure elderly relatives and pets are catered for, or documenting what items their children, including teenagers, consider sentimental.

“Often parents know what is sentimentally important to young children, it might be a favourite teddy bear or doll, but have you ever had that conversation with a teenager? By having these types of conversations and planning ahead, there’s less confusion, stress and potentially valuable time lost if you need to evacuate.”

“Participants will be equipped to know who, when, where and what they need to create their emergency plans and how to safely, successfully and confidently put them in place,” Ms Oldmeadow says.

The workshops, the first of which is being held in Sandy Creek on Wednesday 6 March, are open to anyone within Indigo Shire.

All community members, even children, are encouraged to attend, as well as agency volunteers, who are invited to share their experiences.

Existing community groups are also encouraged to book tailored group workshops so that they can plan together.

/Public Release. View in full here.