Australian Red Cross, Casino
In partnership with NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Police and Richmond Valley Council
Working in close collaboration with emergency services and Richmond Valley Council, Red Cross delivered a Forum to raise community awareness about the local disaster risks, the work of emergency services and how to prepare for emergencies. Survivors and emergency workers shared experiences of disasters which promoted valuable lessons to empower residents to take responsibility for decisions and actions. Get in the Know Casino provided an educational focus for emergency services and Richmond Valley Council to provide important messages to a community. The program engaged children via six school assemblies and Drama in Rural Towns (DIRT), whose students performed a self-written disaster-themed play, which helped them learn about the work of emergency services and the importance of being prepared for disasters.
Sussex Inlet & District Community Forum
In partnership with Shoalhaven City Council and Griffith University
The Sussex Inlet and District Community Forum delivered a community-led strategic action plan designed to build resilience to future impacts of natural hazards, including engaging with the planning process of government and non-government agencies. Working in collaboration with Shoalhaven City Council and Griffith University, the project has created a transferable model of community engagement for the emergency services for preparedness and planning.
St Ives North Public School
In partnership with NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Department of Education
Teachers at St Ives North Public School developed a study program using problem-based and student-led learning strategies to investigate bushfires. Students were deeply engaged and explored problems and issues regarding bush fires, and then identified solutions. This approach improved students' awareness of fires and shared responsibility as well as their bushfire readiness. The school partnered with the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) who provided guidance and expert advice to teachers and students and also worked closely with the NSW Department of Education (DoE) to develop the program. At a showcase event, students' projects were displayed publicly. The event is featured in a video on the NSW RFS website to promote this learning approach in other areas. The DoE is now actively promoting this program to other schools.
Postscript: On 23 November 2017, St Ives North Public School were announced the national winners and presented with the Resilient Australia School Award.
Kurnell Public School
During the response and recovery following the tornado in Kurnell in 2015, Kurnell Public School staff performed an invaluable central communications role - providing a trusted source of information for school children and their parents as well as the wider community. The school liaised with emergency services and community organisations to provide emotional and physical assistance to the people of Kurnell during the recovery - with particular attention to the wellbeing of children following the disaster. A key output saw parents and staff working together to review and update the school's emergency management plan.
Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry
In the aftermath of floods from Cyclone Debbie, the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (LCCI) took a key leadership role in the disaster recovery. In the short-term, they acted as a central point for disseminating information and supporting impacted businesses, facilitating the gathering of intelligence to inform grant funding. The LCCI initiated a flood donation appeal and developed the Restart the HEART campaign to encourage regional support for local businesses. The LCCI also initiated the establishment of the Lismore Business Recovery Taskforce to improve community resilience and economic sustainability into the future.
University of Sydney, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, and Natural Hazards Research Group
Taking a collaborative approach, this research project aimed to improve community resilience by including people with a disability in disaster planning and preparedness. The study delivered the evidence-based "Local Emergency Management Guidelines for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in NSW". The guidelines and accompanying DVD can be used by communities across the state. Additionally, the inclusive and collaborative model fostered relationship building; increased the knowledge base regarding disability inclusion; and promoted collaboration within communities.
NSW State Emergency Service
NSW SES developed a social media campaign to highlight the dangers of entering floodwater that was designed to empower people to make responsible choices when faced with floodwater. The campaign used a peer-to-peer approach of sharing real-life stories from people who had survived incidents in floodwater. Based on evidence from recent research projects, the campaign featured videos that were shared across Facebook, You Tube and Twitter. The campaign reached more than 800,000 people, including at least 173,000 young men, who are most at risk of drowning in floodwater. The resources can to be used proactively or responsively during future flooding events to provide timely reminders about flood safety.
Evacuating frail or elderly residents of care facilities can have detrimental and even devastating impacts on their health and wellbeing. NSW Health have developed Guidelines, which have been endorsed by the State Emergency Management Committee, that provide a systematic framework and decision-making algorithm which helps facility managers decide whether to evacuate in times of impending natural disaster or following an emergency event. The Guidelines give facilities a tool to assess the capability and capacity of their infrastructure and human resources during prevention, preparedness, response and recovery planning. The guidelines empower facilities to become more self-reliant and not dependent on emergency services during a crisis.
2017 NSW 'Get Ready' Community Award Winners