|Community can comment on emergency, relief and recovery plans |
Colac Otway Shire Council will be better prepared for bushfires or other emergencies with the development of a new relief and recovery plan, and an updated emergency management plan.
The community has six weeks to comment on both draft plans, which outline Council’s responsibilities in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.
According to the Municipal Emergency Management Plan, Councils have emergency management responsibilities because they are the closest level of government to their communities.
Mayor Stephen Hart said Councils had specialised knowledge about their local environment and communities.
“While there are many agencies involved in emergency management, people naturally seek help from their local Council during emergencies, and during the recovery process,” Cr Hart said.
“The Municipal Emergency Management Plan looks at ways to prevent emergencies, and brings together all the arrangements for Council’s role in the management of an emergency.
“Some of Council’s roles include hosting an emergency coordination centre, where agencies work together to manage the situation, and providing specialised staffing and support to the coordination centre.
“We also have a list of vulnerable individuals who receive home and community care services from Council. In the event of an emergency, Council ensures these individuals receive additional support.”
The draft Municipal Relief and Recovery Plan kicks into action as soon as an emergency occurs.
The relief phase is a short-term process that includes the provision of food, water, shelter, first aid, counselling, sanitation and information sharing.
Cr Hart said that Bluewater Fitness Centre and the Apollo Bay P-12 College would function as relief centres in medium and large-scale emergencies.
The recovery phase is a longer-term process which involves supporting the communities affected by disasters while infrastructure is rebuilt and the natural environment is rehabilitated.
Cr Hart said Council had not identified locations for recovery centres because the recovery phase depended on the location and type of emergency that had taken place.
“Generally it is considered better to have a recovery site located close to the affected town or area,” he said.
“Council will use the relief and recovery plan as a guide to help communities re-establish those personal, family and community structures that have been disrupted by a major emergency.”
The community has six weeks to comment on the draft Municipal Relief and Recovery Plan, and the draft Municipal Emergency Management Plan.
The draft plans can be viewed at Council’s Colac and Apollo Bay customer service centres, or downloaded from www.colacotway.vic.gov.au
February 2, 2012