Red Cross and Rural Fire Service unite for RediPlan workshop to prepare for bushfire emergencies

Plenty of informative preparation literature is available online from Red Cross, as well as at Council Chambers and the Library.

THE TIMING was perfect for the RediPlan Emergency Services Workshop, held at Hawks Nest Community Hall on Saturday, 16 September.

Representatives from the Pindimar-Tea Gardens Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Red Cross Emergency Services met to further discuss community preparation details on the statewide RFS ‘Get Ready Weekend’.

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As a Red Cross and RFS event, under the auspices of the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association, the focus was on two major forms of preparedness.

“The Red Cross’ focus is on psychological preparation,” said Karen Maloney, Recovery and Resilience Officer at Red Cross Hunter Emergency Services.

“The more prepared you are, the more you feel covered going into the event,” Ms Maloney added.

“Every person has a trigger that finally causes them to evacuate – in some cases it is the warning messages, for others it is the welfare of their family, or even their pets.”

The greatest concern appeared to be general ignorance of the harsh realities evacuating a disaster area, as evidence indicates that those who had been through it before are far more cognizant of the ever-present need to be prepared.

Pindimar-Tea Gardens RFS Captain David Bright informed the group that, due to the region being largely spared by the 2019-20 fires, we are currently at “very high risk”, with excessive fuel loads everywhere.

“There are three active wildfires in progress as we speak, with 27 Hazard Reductions also around the area – the risks are real and immediate,” Captain Bright stated.

“The RFS’ main message is: Get Out Early,” Captain Bright reiterated.

Further stark realities came to light, such as gated communities’ vulnerability to being locked in if they do not have independent power sources.

“Heat waves kill more people in fires than anything else,” Ms Maloney said, noting that the last thing anyone wants to hear is that it is “too late” to evacuate.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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