Emergencies can happen at any time and are usually unexpected. Ararat Rural City is exposed to a variety of natural hazards, including floods, fires and storms.
Council and emergency services are here to help in the event of an emergency, but there are things that can be done to ensure the safety of homes and businesses.
It is important that all of the community have an emergency plan and get involved in a community planning to help prepare for an emergency.
Council’s role in an emergency
Ararat Rural City Council works in partnership with the community, responsible authorities and other relevant agencies and organisations to prevent and minimise the occurrence of emergencies and their impacts on the community.
Through this collaboration, Council has developed a municipal plan that details strategic actions that occur before, during and after an emergency. Municipal Emergency Management Planning, (MEMP)
For Prevention and management of an emergency, Ararat City Council will:
- Prepare the Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) which includes specific sub plans for fires, floods, storms, heatwaves and pandemics
- Implement relevant local government legislation (eg. fire, health, building and planning)
- Assess hazards and undertake appropriate preventative measures, like private property fire hazard inspections
- Provide support to community resilience building programs
- Work with other councils across the Grampians region to increase our capacity and capability to respond in an emergency
BEFORE AN EMERGENCY
As a rural Council, Ararat and the surrounding areas are susceptible to several different hazards such as storms, flood and fires. It is important that all individuals, families, businesses, primary producers and organisations are prepared for emergency events, to alleviate strain on our emergency services for assistance and ensure safety for everyone.
Ararat Rural City Council works with emergency services, support organisations and community groups to support the local area and ensure that its response capacity for emergency events and the community is comprehensive and cooperative with its partners in emergency management.
Ararat Rural City Council encourages the use of tools, apps and checklists that are available to prepare as an individual, family, or business for emergencies, which have been developed by Emergency Service Organisations specialising in emergency response, relief and recovery. Great resources and organisations include:
Australian Red Cross
Preparing for emergencies: https://www.redcross.org.au/prepare
Country Fire Authority
Your Bushfire Plan: https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/your-bushfire-plan
Victorian State Emergency Service
Get Ready – Planning for Emergencies:
For up-to-date information on emergencies, Emergency Management Victoria have developed a comprehensive system through the VicEmergency website, or the VicEmergency App VicEmergency provides information on warnings and current incidents. The App is available for Android & iOS devices and is customisable to allow for more concise information to be delivered to users based on their area and concerns, including weather alerts, incident notifications and more.
In the wake of the Black Summer Fires during the 2019/2020 Fire Danger Period, it is more important than ever that people and properties are prepared for the risks of fire, especially in the months leading into the Fire Danger Period (FDP).
Being prepared and having a written and practiced plan for high fire risk days is the best way to ensure safety in the event of a fire event.
Community Information Guides can help develop a plan. The CFA has developed these guides in consultation with the community for Ararat, Elmhurst, Lake Bolac, Moyston, Pomonal, Streatham, Willaura and the surrounding area which can be found on the CFA website.
Whether pets are at home, relocated during fire risk days or brought along on holidays, it is important to plan and prepare for their safety as well as. Information on how to prepare pets for an emergency is available by clicking here.
Council has assessed a number of Neighbourhood Safer Place-Bushfire Place of last Resort for our community as last resort survival options. These do not replace having a well thought out and practiced survival plan. Going to a Neighbourhood safer place is only a last resort if all other plans have failed.
Preparing property for fire is another important part of an emergency plan. The Municipal Fire Protection Officer conducts inspections of properties throughout the municipality in the months leading up to the Fire Danger Period, to ensure the maintenance of fire safety practices and land management before the FDP commences. For information on preparing property for the fire season, please visit the CFA’s .
Large volumes of rain, be it in short bursts or over longer periods, can cause a build up of water in the municipality’s waterways and flood onto roads and properties, damaging assets and affecting livestock. The Ararat area has a history with flood events, so it always pays to be prepared and aware of the options should flooding occur near or on your property that may affect safety.
If your property is prone to flooding, you may wish to consider keeping a store of sandbags on your property. For a guide on sandbagging and how it is used to protect properties, see the Victorian SES guide to sandbagging .
In the event of flood events, Ararat Rural City Council has two sandbag collection points:
Ararat Rural City Council Depot – Flatley Street. Ararat
Wickliffe Recreation Reserve – Willaura-Wickliffe Road, Wickliffe
(Please note: These locations are only activated at the discretion of the Control Agency (VICSES) and when activated, residents will be advised through Council’s social media and other notification channels)
For more information on preparing for floods, visit the . For information about flooding in the Ararat area, please see the for the Ararat area.
DURING AN EMERGENCY
In an emergency, council supports response agencies with the provision of local resources, working collaboratively with the incident controller to manage the impact of the emergency on our community.
During these times, Council;
- Works with the response agency for the event to support the response efforts, as well as activating relief and recovery activities if required
- May open and operate our Emergency Relief Centres for displaced residents if required.
- Services may include assistance with food and clothing, temporary accommodation, personal support services and access to grants or financial aid
- Other activities include, road/tree clearing, traffic management support, animal welfare related services and assisting the distribution of warnings and information to the public and media
If an emergency event occurs, residents should:
- Monitor information releases for direction, such as the VicEmergency app, and the
- Ensure that they are prepared to leave at short notice if required and that emergency plans are put in motion early
- Ensure preparations are in place for any pets or livestock (further information )
- If a fire, flood or other hazard occurs near your property, please call Triple Zero (000) immediately to notify emergency services
AFTER AN EMERGENCY
After the immediate threat of an emergency, communities begin to move into what is called recovery. Recovery can last for a few weeks or years depending on the size of the emergency, the damage that has occurred and the ongoing effects of the damage to people, properties and businesses.
Ararat Rural City Council is responsible for working with the community to facilitate the recovery process. Recovery can be a simple process or be a complex combination of multiple processes that link in with each other to achieve the desired result. Recovery activities vary in size, scope and extent depending on community needs, and will be implemented to target the following areas;
Social environment: Which includes the impact an event may have on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. This environment is primarily concerned with safety, security and shelter, health and psychosocial wellbeing.
Economic environment: Which includes the direct and indirect impacts that an event may have on business, primary producers and the broader economy.
Built environment: Which considers the impacts that an event may have on essential physical infrastructure including essential services, commercial and industrial facilities, public buildings, assets and housing.
Natural environment: Which considers the impact that an event may have on a healthy and functioning environment, which underpins the economy and society. Components of the natural environment include air and water quality, land degradation and contamination, plant and wildlife damage/loss
After an emergency, Council will engage with the community to provide information required to access services in the short, medium and long term.
For large emergencies, funding may be received from the State Government to allow Council to designate a Recovery Officer to work with the community and ensure that investments are made and services are provided based on what the communities concerns and needs to recover.
For further information about recovery, please see the video series developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, or visit the DHHS website.