As an organisation, Council activates and coordinates resources in response to emergency situations as part of its normal municipal operations. While it's unknown when emergencies will occur, experience indicates that they will happen, usually without notice. An emergency is an event which may endanger life, property or the environment.
Council plays an important role in the planning and management of emergencies in the municipality. As the closest level of government to the community, Council has a responsibility to plan, respond and assist with recovery in the event of an emergency affecting its community.
Municipal Emergency Management Plan
The Golden Plains Shire Municipal Emergency Management Plan 2011-2014 was adopted by Council in September 2011.
The Golden Plains Shire Municipal Emergency Management Plan has traditionally focussed on managing physical events however there is now an increasing awareness of threats from a wide range of sources. The plan therefore takes a risk based approach to the planning of emergency management where the identification, analysis and evaluation of risks and the development of appropriate treatments is undertaken. Risk management reflects a shift in emphasis from the event to the community.
Emergency management planning is one component of community safety and wellbeing. Effective emergency management within the community safety context revolves around developing strong, active and healthy communities which are adequately prepared. A well prepared community is more likely to cope with an emergency situation.
As an organisation, Council activates and coordinates resources in response to emergency situations as part of its normal municipal operations. Accordingly, resources may be deployed without a formal activation or declaration of an emergency.
The Plan is maintained and controlled from the office of the Municipal Emergency Manager (MEM).
To see a copy of the Plan, Click here(9771 kb)If you would like a hardcopy of the plan, contact Council's Emergency Management (Fire) Coordinator on 5220 7111.
Neighbourhood Safer Places - Places of Last Resort (NSP-PLR)
In response to the Black Saturday bushfires, Council has established five open space Neighbourhood Safer Places - Places of Last Resort (NSP-PLR) in Golden Plains Shire. These are located at:
- Cape Clear Recreation Reserve
Recreation Road, Cape Clear
- Haddon Recreation Reserve
Sago Hill Road, Haddon
- Linton Recreation Reserve
Brooke Street, Linton
- Ross Creek Recreation Reserve
Sebastopol- Smythesdale Road, Ross Creek
- Woady Yaloak Equestrian Centre
Corner of Glenelg Highway and Lords Lane, Smythesdale
Neighbourhood Safer Places - Places of Last Resort are identified spaces within the community that may afford some protection from radiant heat, the biggest killer during bushfire. They are a place of last resort in bushfire emergencies only.
These NSP-PLRs are open space areas where residents can go when their personal fire plans have failed and they are left with no other option. They are not a replacement for having your own well prepared fire survival plan and being aware of the weather and fire danger in your area.
There is no guarantee of safety at a NSP-PLR. There are no special facilities and no provision of food, water or built shelter. The NSP-PLR may be uncomfortable and exposed to smoke and embers and is only intended to provide a place of last resort during the passage of a fire.
The Neigbourhood Safer Place question and answer link below has more information on what to expect from a Neighbourhood Safer Place.
Council has also prepared a Municipal Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan.
For more information about NSP-PLR's, visit the CFA website at http://www.saferplaces.cfa.vic.gov.au/ or contact Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on 5220 7111.
Dereel Neighbourhood Safer Place - Place of Last Resort (NSP-PLR) Proposal
Dereel Neighburhood Safer Place - Place of Last Resort
Council has completed the Community Engagement part of the establishment of the Dereel Neighbourhood Safer Place - Place of Last Resort. Over 450 flyers promoting the Community Drop-in Session were directly mailed to Dereel residents as well as articles being printed in The Courier and The Miner. Posters were placed at the Dereel Community Hall noticeboard.
Council recieved feedback from approximately 20 residents at the Community Drop-In Session. No feedback was recieved through Council's on-line survey. Feedback will be considered in the development of the final Recommendation Report that will be lodged with the Fire Services Commission for endorsement.
If you would like to see the proposed Dereel Neighbourhood Safer Place - Place of Last Resort, details are provided below.
What is Council proposing?
Council is proposing to establish an open space Neighbourhood Safer Place - Place of Last Resort (NSP-PLR) on the north side of the Dereel - Junction Road, 400 metres west of the Colac-Ballarat Road intersection. See the map here - Dereel Open Space NSP-PLR Map(2906 kb).
The NSP-PLR will be a gravel car park suitable for up to 30 vehicles in open, clear ground with minimal ground fuels separated from the surrounding paddocks by a fenced and maintained buffer zone. The NSP-PLR will have signs and a street light but no other facilities. The site will be fenced and gated with the facility being freely accessible during the Fire Danger Period. See the NSP-PLR diagram here - Dereel Open Space NSP-PLR Diagram(1358 kb).
Why has Council chosen this site?
Council; in consultation with the CFA and the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee, have selected this site as being a readily accessible open area with minimal fuel loads that meets CFA and Council criteria for the establishment of a NSP-PLR. The site is reasonably centrally located for Dereel and surrounding areas. There are few sites in and around Dereel that can satisfy CFA and Municipal criteria for the establishment of a NSP-PLR due to access, location, topography or vegetation.
Why not use the Community Hall?
The Dereel Soldiers Memorial Hall (Community Hall) was considered for use as a built NSP-PLR and it was assessed as requiring substantial works to bring the building up to standard to be used as a NSP-PLR. Additionally, signficant initial and ongoing vegetation removal would have been required around the hall and along access routes.
How will the community know where the Dereel NSP-PLR is?
Council will erect signs directing residents and visitors to the NSP-PLR site. Additionally, Council will notify residents of the location of the NSP-PLR by mail once the facility is established.
What if the Dereel NSP-PLR needs to be used at night?
The proposed Dereel NSP-PLR will be equipped with a street light to provide light at night or during low light conditions.
Will the CFA be at the NSP-PLR to defend users of the facility?
The CFA can provide no guarantees that CFA resources will be at a NSP-PLR when it is being used during the passage of a bushfire. It is a place of last resort to be used when your fire plan has failed and you have nowhere else to go. It does not replace the need for you to have a Bushfire Survival Plan and to enact that plan on days of high fire danger.
Responding to a fire emergency is the responsibility of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) on private land. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) responds to fire on public lands.
If you are concerned about smoke in your area:
- Check out the CFA Fires and Warnings website at http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/.
- Check the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) planned burning website at this link (click here).
- Contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667
If you are seeking more information regarding fire prevention in Golden Plains Shire, please refer to the Fire Prevention webpage or click here.
Flood and Storm Emergencies
Responding to flood and storm emergencies is the responsibility of the Victorian State Emergency Service (VICSES).
If you are seeking information about a flood or storm emergency:
- Contact the VICSES storm and flood emergency hotline on 132500
- Check out the VICSES website at http://www.ses.vic.gov.au/.
Power outages can severely impact residents ability to respond to and recover from an emergency. Within Golden Plains Shire, Powercor is the electricity distributor. To find out more about a power outage in your area, contact your electricity supplier or if you have an internet connection, check the Powercor website at www.powercor.com.au.
Animal in Emergencies
Your Animals in an Emergency
Your animals are your responsibility. It is up to you to plan ahead and to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets, livestock or other animals well before an emergency impacts your home or property.
Too often in the past last minute efforts to save domestic animals and stock have led to tragedy for both human and animals. If you have animals you must make preparations now - before the emergency - in order to avoid chaos and confusion when the emergency hits.
Ensure that all animals are properly identified (e.g. a collar and tag, microchip or NLIS tag). Stock registers should be current (and taken with you when evacuating) and microchip details up to date. Keep your pet’s immunisation up-to-date. Pets will need current proof of vaccination to stay at a kennel or cattery.
Prepare an animal evacuation kit including food, water, bowls, leads, blankets/bedding, relevant documentation and any medication they might require.
A collapsible cage, airline approved carrier or portable container appropriate to species should be available for each small pet (including cats, birds, guinea pigs, fish or reptiles), for transportation and housing purposes. Owning enough carriers to accommodate your pets facilitates a speedy evacuation and may mean the difference between the life or death of you and your pet. Dogs should have a leash and large animals will need specialised transport vehicles.
Large animals require extra consideration. Train all of your animals to lead and load into a trailer. Have equipment close at hand that may be needed such as halters and lead ropes. Practice hitching your trailer and backing it into the loading area.
Where to evacuate?
Council may have an Emergency Relief Centre operating in response to the emergency but these do not have facilities to manage large numbers of animals. Take your animals to friends and relatives or kennel/cattery facilities where they can receive proper care.
When to evacuate?
On a Code Red Fire Danger day, leaving high-risk bushfire areas the night before or early in the morning is the safest option. Do not wait and see what will happen. It is unlikely you will be able to safely move your animals once an emergency is in your area.
In recent fire and flood events, many people who planned to leave took longer to get ready than they had expected. This resulted in them being delayed and leaving when fire was upon them or resulted in them being trapped in flood waters as they tried to leave – often with tragic consequences.
Fires and floods are unpredictable and plans can fail. If you plan to leave your animals at home or your evacuation plans fail leaving you with no option other than to leave your animals behind, there are measures you can take to assist their survival.
The Department of Primary Industries web site (http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/about-agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-welfare-in-emergencies) has some excellent resources to help you prepare for caring for your animals during emergencies.
Emergency Relief Centres
In the event of an emergency that has the potential to displace residents and visitors to the Shire, Council will open an Emergency Relief Centre at the nearest safe location. A Emergency Relief Centre may be located some distance from the site of the emergency to ensure the safety and welfare of Relief Centre staff and users of the facility.
An Emergency Relief Centre aims to provide for the essential needs of persons affected by, or involved in an emergency. The primary functions of an Emergency Relief Centre are:
- catering (meeting food and water needs)
- material aid - immediate needs
- emergency shelter
- registration of displaced persons - National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS).
Golden Plains Shire has three designated Emergency Relief Centres and arrangements in place to utilise Emergency Relief Centres in Buninyong and Geelong should the Shire centres be unable to be utilised. Councils designated Relief Centres are:
Bannockburn Sports Stadium
- Woady Yaloak Recreation Centre
- Haddon Recreation Reserve
Sago Hill Road
Council will advise residents of the activation of Emergency Relief Centres when they are opened in response to an emergency.