Bass Coast Shire Council is collaborating with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Red Cross on the Emergency Planning Advice Services (EPAS) Pilot Program, developed to improve emergency preparedness for vulnerable community members.
The Program is being fully funded by a $40,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and it’s aim is to build greater community connectedness and resilience across Bass Coast.
The Program will include visits by members of the CFA and the Red Cross to 20 Bass Coast residents, whose property is at an increased bushfire risk and who experience vulnerability. During these visits, the residents will be supported to create a holistic plan that can be implemented in the case of an emergency.
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said that this initiative aims to be proactive in preparing vulnerable community members to better protect their wellbeing in emergencies.
“The Pilot Program will run until June 2021 and then the findings will be analysed by the University of Sydney,” Cr Tessari said.
“The findings could then be used to inform future emergency planning for Bass Coast and Council.”
The Bushfire Royal Commission (2009) discovered that 44 per cent of people who lost their lives due to bushfires, were considered the most vulnerable in their communities. The risk factors that determine vulnerability include being over the age of 65, having pre-existing health conditions, a mental or physical disability, being unemployed and drug and alcohol use.
It is expected that future climate projections will contribute to an increase in bushfire intensity and days of extreme heat that need to be planned for.