More than 120 people from across state and local government, community and social service organisations, emergency services organisations and academia attended the 2015 VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum in June this year. The theme for the Forum was Vulnerable people in emergencies: Issues and initiatives.
The emergency management sector is working to better understand the diversity of communities, including the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Speakers at the 2015 VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum – some local, some interstate and some international – presented a range of initiatives that address the needs of a variety of groups of people who are at risk. Presentations by each of the following speakers are now available on the VCOSS YouTube Channel:
Emma King, CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service, welcomed forum speakers and guests on behalf of VCOSS and MAV.
Colin Hunter Senior, Wurundjeri Elder, provided a traditional Welcome to Country and information about the Wurundjeri people.
Jess Freame, Director of the Relief and Recovery Directorate at Emergency Management Victoria discussed the development of the Directorate.
Pauline Cole, Project Manager at the State Recovery Office, Department for Communities and Social Inclusion in South Australia, discussed the development of a statewide framework to address the needs of vulnerable people in emergencies. This project follows the release of the South Australian Government’s 2013 report People with vulnerabilities in disasters: Environmental scan and gap analysis of projects/programs for people with vulnerabilities in disasters.
Jill Karena, Manager Community and Culture at the Macedon Ranges Shire Council presented a local action plan to prevent violence against women in emergencies that is being developed as part of Macedon Ranges Shire’s commitment to improving the way residents prepare, react and respond to crises.
Yasmin Sungkar and Aziz Cooper
Yasmin Sungkar and Aziz Cooper, of the Emergency Assist Program at the Islamic Council of Victoria, introduced the Emergency Assist (ICVEA) program. The program provides training for volunteer disaster support assistance to the Muslim community by the Muslim community.
Marlene Dalziel and Sue Wales
Marlene Dalziel and Sue Wales introduced the Ready2Go Volunteer Relocation Program, which supports vulnerable participants with regular contact from volunteers over the summer months with supportive phone calls and visits. Through pre-planning and in accordance with specific criteria, volunteers may also provide volunteer relocation assistance ahead of any extreme conditions.
Martha Martin and Stephen Davenport
Martha Martin and Stephen Davenport from Hume City Council discussed the Hume Emergency and Disaster Resilience Network Project, which was initiated to identify and address communities within Hume City Council that may be at risk or vulnerable in emergencies. Through working collaboratively with community organisations, connections will be utilised to coordinate a consistent approach
Brent Phillips, Communication and Community Relations Manager at Vicdeaf, discussed Vicdeaf’s partnership with Emergency Management Victoria enabling Auslan interpreting access during emergencies. This includes Auslan interpreted and captioned weekly Bushfire Conditions updates; an Auslan version of the FireReady video, which includes captioning; and a commitment to ensure televised emergency announcements include Auslan interpreting and captioning.
Lucy Saaroni and Anne Barton
Lucy Saaroni and Anne Barton from the City of Yarra discussed the council’s campaign to reduce individual and community vulnerability in periods of extreme hot weather. Harnessing skills from different council departments, council officers have also partnered with state and local organisations to implement a highly targeted, yet multi-faceted range of products and platforms to engage, educate and empower different vulnerable groups within the municipality, to increase their resilience in heatwaves.
Sharon Tortenson – Executive Officer, Council of Social Services in Christchurch. New Zealand is recognised as a world leader in its risk management approach to increasing the capability of communities and individuals to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. Sharon Tortenson discussed the community sector’s contribution to response, relief and recovery following the 2010-11 Canterbury/Christchurch earthquakes.