People Led Preparedness

Building Communities Preparedness for Emergencies and Natural Disasters.

People Led Preparedness

Building Communities Preparedness for Emergencies and Natural Disasters.

Community Participation -

LP0006

The issue

Since 2017 the Dunedoo and Coolah areas in Central West NSW have experienced a series of natural disasters -the Sir Ivan Bushfire destroyed thousands of hectares of farm and bushland, burning houses and farm infrastructure and killing stock and wildlife. It left a devastated landscape and struggling community. Straight on the back of the fire came the drought, COVID, a mouse plague and then local flooding. There is always a reactive element to dealing with emergencies, however planning for emergencies is  a way to minimise losses, mitigate dangers and risks and bring the community to work together in being prepared.

The solution

Funding was received from the People Led Preparedness program through Landcare NSW to run a series of workshops across the Central West region. Dunedoo Coolah Landcare contracted to run a workshop to address emergency preparedness. Local Emergency Services  -the RFS, SES and Fire and Rescue -were engaged to attend a workshop in Dunedoo on the 26th March and present on the role of their services in local emergencies and to provide guidelines and resources for preparing for emergencies. This semi informal part of the workshop gave residents an opportunity to ask questions and clarify issues including where the emergency assembly points were in town, who to contact in an emergency and how to develop a bushfire plan. This proved useful to participants who were keen to be prepared for future events, some having lost homes and properties in the fires.

A great drawcard to the day was Graham Ross, presenter for Better Homes and Gardens. He was contracted to talk on building gardens resilient to environmental challenges. His talk was inspiring and informative and he shared a wealth of experience and knowledge with attendees.

The impact

Apart from the direct learnings of the sessions, the community came together as a group and had the opportunity to share their experiences on previous disasters and learn with others how to be better prepared. The session also clarified local area questions on roles of emergency services and what to do and where to go in an emergency. Discussions were also held on reigniting a local group that was formed to address disaster preparedness in the area which dissolved during COVID. The workshop was well received and well attended and the spectacular catering by one of our local business women was the icing on the cake.

Learnings

The community really appreciated the opportunity to get together with the framework for Disaster Preparedness. Since immediately after the Fires there hasn't been much community engagement and support for any ongoing impact of the fires, or plans to minimise future risks. There is certainly opportunity to build on this initial workshop to build a fuller community response to disasters and build individual preparedness for future events.

Key facts

  • Connected communities can be better prepared for emergencies.
  • Local knowledge and experience is important.
  • Coming together to discuss emergency preparedness is something people are keen to do.
  • Landcare groups are well placed to work with Disaster Preparedness given their connections in the community.
  • There is definitely interest and more room for work in this space

Project Partners