All communities and organisations face emergency risks, and in Victoria bushfire is one of our greatest risks. A range of resources are available for organisations, clients and communities to help prepare for the summer season, including:
- The DHHS Preparing for emergencies: A reference guide for organisations in the Health and Community Services Sectors for organisations across both the health sector and the community services sector to plan for and effectively respond to external emergencies.
- The Vulnerable people in emergencies policy (Word)for organisations funded by DHHS to provide personal care, support and/or case management services to clients living in the community within the 64 municipal council areas wholly or partly covered by the Country Fire Authority districts.
- CFA’s online Bushfire safety for workers for anyone who works in a high risk bushfire areas.
- Australian Red Cross’ RediPlan, Get Prepared app and survival checklists for people and households.
- The official Victorian Government VicEmergency website and app.
- The Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) – 1800 240 667 – for information during and after major bushfire incidents.
- The ABC, the official emergency broadcaster, for the latest advisory information and news for emergencies across Australia.
- Your local council for information on emergency plans in your local area.
Support for your organisation following an emergency
Impacts to community organisations following an emergency event can be significant and may include any of the following in the short and medium term:
- Dislocation and relocation
- Financial implications relating to relocation costs, staff leave, and reduced or increased demand for services
- Impacts to business continuity and continuity of care
- Occupation Health and Safety liabilities
- Difficulties in recruiting temporary staff
- Surges in demand
- Clean-up or repair issues
- Transport issues
- Staff health and wellbeing
Longer term impacts following an emergency can include the following:
- Lack of capacity to maintain longer term support to communities
- Progression from relief to recovery work with no respite
- The need for additional support, money and personnel with uncertain funding
- Demand for support growing, not reducing, over time
- Uncertainty as to what to expect as recovery progresses
- Tensions between services and governments regarding the long term nature of recovery
- Putting everyday work on hold, at the expense of vulnerable people
- Increases in family violence, PTSD, depression and anxiety, suicide, community cohesion and impacts on children and young people.
VCOSS has a range of resources that can be useful for community organisations impacted by an emergency. Please email Bridget Tehan at VCOSS.