Big Map insights help with disaster preparation and provide a unique overview of how a valley catchment zone can be affected

Interested locals literally stand their ground on a topographical map of the region.

CONCEIVED as an aid to help visualise catchment-wide disasters and their effects, the remarkable ‘Big Map’ was on display at Kempsey’s Slim Dusty Centre last week.

Encouraging communities to become safer and stronger via engagement was a driving force of the event on Friday 28 July, organised by not-for-profit social enterprise Disaster Relief Australia (DRA), in conjunction with Kempsey Shire Council, and supported by Allianz.

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“We work together to assess the potential risks of floods and fires in our regions using advanced mapping technology and drones, and we also discuss strategies to enhance community resilience and minimise future disasters,” DRA representatives said.

Individuals were invited to identify their home and community location on the vast map, by way of removing shoes and literally walking lightly and respectfully on the geo print that filled the space, somewhat like being immersed in a ‘Google Earth’ scenario.

Stuarts Point and District Community Organisation chairperson Mary-Lou Lewis said while volunteers worked hard in emergencies, everyone had responsibilities.

“We have fantastic volunteers that make up for most of our emergency response agencies, and along with that we, as individuals, also need to be prepared and responsible for our community,” she said.

DRA says it is on the road, sharing intelligence throughout Australia, because communities that are heard and valued are more likely to share ownership strategies before, during and after disaster events.

Insurer Allianz was on hand with a suggested list for a ‘go bag’’ of items to be stored as a handy ready-to-go kit in the event of evacuation emergencies.

Though the list is basic and obviously open to personal needs, it included:

a battery radio, battery pack and torch; phone and wall chargers; USB drive containing key information; medications; comfort items for children and pets (toys/pillows etc); essential toiletries and sleeping/clothing provisions and; water and long-life food items.

For more information regarding travels and upcoming events provided by DRA or how to get involved see


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