Kyogle's award-winning disaster-ready plan
AN EMERGENCY action plan developed by Northern Rivers communities in the case of a disaster has won the NSW Get Ready Community Award.
The action plan has proved so successful, that other NSW communities are looking to adopt similar backup models in planning for disasters.
It's a joint project by Kyogle Council and community and was set-up after the devastating 2017 flood to better prepare local communities and aid disaster recovery.
The project - Kyogle Community-Managed Action Plan for an Emergency Evacuation Centre - encourages communities to have a Plan B should a disaster, such as the devastating 2017 flood, isolate them from support agencies.
It was rolled out across the Kyogle local government area earlier this year in collaboration with a number of emergency management partners including the Red Cross, the Department Family and Community Services, and the SES along with other community organisations.
As part of the project, community meetings were held at Wiangaree, Woodenbong, Bonalbo, Mallanganee, and Tabulam to establish village groups to manage and set up temporary emergency evacuation centres.
The idea for the action plan was developed in the wake of the 2017 floods when the local Red Cross, Adventist Development Relief Agency, Country Women's Association and Lions Club with support from council staff and other community volunteers had to set up evacuation centres at Woodenbong, Wiangaree and Kyogle.
The action plan was tested during the recent bushfires in the Tabulam and Drake area when an evacuation centre was established at Bonalbo in case residents of Drake had to be evacuated.
Kyogle Council's Local Emergency Management Officer Tony Lickiss and Kyogle Red Cross representative Noelle Lynden-Way accepted the award on behalf of the Kyogle Local Government Area community at a special awards function at NSW Parliament House last week.
"The project was initially developed from an idea put forward by community members and has really been a whole-of-community effort,” Mr Lickiss said.
Kyogle Council Mayor Cr Danielle Mulholland congratulated Council staff and the Kyogle LGA community network involved in the project for their commitment to ensuring the safety of the wider community in the event of a disaster.
Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay said the award was a "major coup” for local emergency efforts.