Supporting communities to prepare for fire season ahead

Gellibrand Community House web 2.jpg

With the UN’s International Day for Disaster Reduction today (Friday, October 13), Colac Otway Shire is rolling out Emergency Relief “Starter Kits” to 10 high-risk townships across the Shire.

The kits are located in community halls to assist in keeping people calm, safer, and informed during an incident. They provide two-way communication from the community back to the Council’s Emergency Operations Centre, which is in direct contact with Emergency Services Incident Control.

Through consultation with local community groups, Council has started to roll out Emergency Management resources as part of a community resilience strengthening program, led by its Emergency Management Unit.

Council’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Heath Chasemore said emergency service agencies may not be able to get to impacted locations to help communities until the risk from the emergency has been reduced. “These kits can assist the community support each other with their early relief needs,” he said.

In addition to the kits, Mr Chasemore said Council was able to advocate to the State and the National Broadband Network for several townships to be part of the Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) project.

The STAND project, funded by the Federal Government, has seen seven communities across the shire receive free NBN satellite installations at community halls to provide communication connections during an emergency, linking people to advice and information from Emergency Services and Council.

Gellibrand Community House Co-ordinator Kyla Beale welcomed the resources available to Gellibrand district residents.

“Our community is concerned with the changing climate, and the challenges that it may bring – one concern is to create a more resilient community, and the emergency relief starter kits are a great part of that plan,” she said.

“The NBN connection is also a great and vital service. The kit is a good start and we’ll be working to update and add to it – it’s a great asset for our community.”

Warnings of an El Nino summer of hot and dry conditions on the back of large fuel increases have authorities concerned about the coming fire season and Council has prepared a Fire Prevention Inspection Program operating until the end of January.

“We are also asking residents that if they know their neighbour is not a permanent resident, to reach out to them and be a good neighbour, letting them know that the Fire Danger Period is coming, the Council Fire Prevention Inspection Program is starting soon and that now is a better time than any to begin preparing for the season ahead,” Mr Chasemore said.

“Working together, we can all help reduce the risk of emergencies and fire during the coming summer.”

Property owners are reminded that extra green waste services begin on October 16 for week two and October 23 for week one collection areas, while the green waste skip bins will be in place in Wye River and Kennett River from November 3 through to November 27, before being placed in Forrest on December 1 for two weeks.

This is on top of free green waste drop-off for a six-by-four trailer at Alvie and Apollo Bay waste transfer stations throughout November.

/Public Release. View in full here.