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Seven key points from SES flood forums

FLOOD RESCUE: One of many residents held by the SES, Michelle Anderson is rescued by the Lismore Unit from her flooded in North Lismore.
FLOOD RESCUE: One of many residents held by the SES, Michelle Anderson is rescued by the Lismore Unit from her flooded in North Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Monday 2.28pm: Key points from flood forums:

  • impacts of the built environment
  • Rubber-neckers - Every community expressed concern that people coming to look at the damage rather than help, got in the way and further traumatised the community
  • Insurance coverage and definitions of flood, storm, and deluge
  • Concerns regarding accuracy and timeliness of flood gauge readings
  • Maintenance of waterways, culverts etc to decrease risk
  • There was a growing acknowledgement of the large task that the small numbers of SES volunteers have to face
  • Sharing 'old timers' knowledge with new residents
  • Community Groups and individual residents have committed to involvement in future workshops, education and planning processes, with SES Community Engagement and independently.

 

Monday 9.47am: AFTER hosting nine community forums the State Emergency Service has produced a hard-hitting 90 page report about its response the March floods.

It comes after nine NSW SES Post Event Forums were held across the Northern Rivers.

SES Richmond-Tweed Region spokeswoman Janet Pettit said these forums were a necessary first step in a process to engage the community and support strategies working towards the common goal of building community resilience.

"The aim of the NSW SES Post Event Community Forums was to listen to the community," Ms Pettit said.

"They enabled the SES to build an accurate picture of each community's experiences and perspectives during the recent flood events, and discuss ways they can work with communities, to continue to improve their preparation, response and recovery to disaster events."

Between May 11 and 29, the SES held nine community forums, some of which included multiple towns at one meeting, and involved Mullumbimby, Lismore, North Lismore, South Lismore, Kyogle, Tumbulgum, Murwillumbah and South. Murwillumbah, Chinderah, Fingal Head and Kingscliff, Billinudgel, South. Golden Beach and Ocean Shores and Burringbar, Mooball, Stokers Siding and Crabbes Creek.

Independent facilitator, Rebecca Riggs from HighGround Communications, was engaged to facilitate the forums.

"It's not just one strategy, the SES are trying to help engage our community it's a multi-pronged approach," Ms Pettit said.

"The SES trying to re-engage with our communities, particularly smaller communities to build local resilience within neighbourhoods".

Ms Pettit said one forum result was the creation of North Lismore Flood Action Group phone tree and self-titled Facebook page to use as localised communication channels for flood warnings and preparedness as well as during the emergency.

Ms Pettit said the Richmond-Tweed SES region comprises 14 units with 550 members.

"During an event (such as flooding), less than half usually can come back and help because they are away or cut off."

Meanwhile Beth Trevan who co-wrote the Lismore Citizens Review of the March 2017 Flood, said the group were not attacking the Lismore SES Unit, but rather the way in which local knowledge was overlooked and overruled.

"We need to ensure local knowledge, experience and connections are used so this never happens again," she said.

Topics:  flood forum flood review flood-sixmonths lismore flood northern rivers flood northern rivers weather ses



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