Natural disasters such as floods, severe storms, bushfires and heatwaves, significantly impact on lives, property and the environment. They typically require a substantial and coordinated multi-agency and community commitment to both response and recovery and there is increasing evidence that investment in disaster preparedness provides significant savings in response and recovery.
Supporting our communities to stay inclusive, proud and safe and celebrate diversity is a priority action area for the Hunter JO, and for many years we have been working on a range of projects to support Councils build the resilience of their local communities to natural disasters.
Through our Regional Disaster Preparedness Officer, the Hunter JO is working with Resilience NSW to:
- Increase council capability to prepare, respond to and recover from disaster events
- Improve collaboration between local councils and agencies
- Strengthen local emergency management plans, based on rigorous assessment of risk
- Establish local recovery plans that are adaptable to a range of risks
- Identify priority systems, strategies and investments (within and across Council areas) to mitigate risks to the community, Council operations and critical infrastructure
- Integrate climate change adaption strategies into emergency management systems
- Enable councils to engage communities and businesses to prepare for / build resilience to disasters
- Establish regional networks focused on building Council and community resilience
LET’S TALK … DISASTER RESILIENCE
Hunter Joint Organisation has collaborated with 11 partner councils, combat agencies, communication experts and the emergency broadcaster ABC to explore the challenges faced by Councils in the region when it comes to communicating about disasters. As a result, a Disaster Communications Planning Framework has been developed to guide Councils through key communication resources and structures that assist with preparing to communicate in a disaster situation. An additional toolkit has also been developed to help Council Comms teams get started in their communication response. This work has been funded under the joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program.
Watch the below video to hear from a range of communication and disaster response experts who spoke at EMPA 2019. on the challenges and opportunities that arise when Councils are faced with natural disasters and the deluge of communication demands that come with them. We hear from a range of communication and disaster response experts who spoke at EMPA 2019.
GET READY FOR DISASTERS – A RESOURCE KIT FOR THE COMMUNITY SERVICES SECTOR
This Resource Kit is a compilation of existing resources and materials developed by a range of organisations that focus on preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural disasters and emergency events.
The Resource Kit aims to support the community services sector to more easily research, access and integrate information and materials on disaster preparedness within their core business activities, and to better engage, communicate with and prepare their clients and communities for natural disasters and emergencies. The resources it contains can be used by the sector to support
staff training, to inform corporate risk assessment and disaster planning, and to support direct engagement and communication with the clients and communities they service.
BEAT THE HEAT
The frequency and intensity of heatwaves in Australia is increasing, with the length, extent and severity of current heatwaves unprecedented in recorded meteorological history. Climate change modelling also identifies that this trend will continue, meaning more frequent, hotter and longer lasting heatwaves.
With heatwaves already killing more Australians than any other natural disasters (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011), this trend is expected to only increase the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths occurring in Australia, particularly within more vulnerable or `at risk’ communities.
To help our communities ‘Beat the Heat’, please see below a suite of free resources developed by the Hunter JO in conjunction with Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Local Health District to raise awareness of the simple steps that can ben taken to reduce impacts of heatwaves on our health: