If an emergency happened, would you know how to respond?
Emergencies can arise at any time, so it is important to take simple steps to protect yourself, your family and property in a natural disaster or local emergency.
Simple actions to be emergency ready include preparing an emergency plan, develop an emergency kit and signing up for emergency warnings and alerts from NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Services and the Office of Emergency Management
The best way to stay safe in an emergency is to be informed. Tune in to local radio, websites or other media and listen for advice, instructions and updates. You could also use a battery-powered radio or your car radio (if it is safe to access your car). For severe weather information visit the Bureau of Meteorology.
Emergency alerts are sent by emergency services to landline telephones based on the location of the handset, and to mobile phones based on the service address. In the case of an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline or a text message to your mobile phone.
Stay in touch with your family, neighbours and friends
Sometimes mobile phone services may not be available. Emergency services may ask you not to use your mobile to prevent network overload and ensure phone lines are available for the emergency services. Otherwise, provided that phone networks are still working:
- send out a text message or call close family members and friends to check they are safe and let them know you are safe
- notify Police if family, friends or neighbours are missing
- let others know of the emergency risk, they may not have heard the emergency warning yet
- use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter to share emergency warnings
Know what to do and who to contact when an emergency happens in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Council area.
In the case of a flood, never drive, ride, walk or play in floodwater. Water may be deeper, or flow faster than you think. It may also contain hidden snags and debris.
During extreme heat, children, pregnant or nursing women, the elderly and pets are more likely to suffer the effects of heat. The easiest way to avoid heat-related illnesses is to stay hydrated by drinking water, stay out of the sun, wear light-weight or loose fitting clothing, avoid caffeine and alcohol, have a cool shower or bath and seek air conditioned or cooled environments e.g. shopping centres or your local library.
Should I evacuate?
During an emergency it is important to be aware of the dangers and risks to your safety and when it is likely to impact on you. In determining whether to stay or evacuate, you need to be aware of and follow any emergency warnings and you should not leave evacuating to the last moment.
You may receive evacuation warnings or orders:
- from Police or other emergency workers
- through media or official emergency services websites
- through a government-issued emergency alert to your phone
When you do receive an evacuation order, it is essential that you follow the instructions. Every home should have an emergency plan and an emergency kit prepared should you need to evacuate.
If you have time, turn off electricity, gas and water supplies, unplug appliances and lock all doors and windows before leaving.
Where to go
During an emergency situation, if you cannot return to your home, you should:
- go to the house of a friend or relative, if it is safe, or
- go to your nearest Neighbourhood Safer Places during a bush fire as a last resort
If you have evacuated, it may not be safe to return to your house. You must wait until emergency agencies give the all clear.
Stay tuned in to local radio stations for information, updates, and advice. Remember to stay clear of affected areas, particularly damaged buildings and roadways.
People returning to affected areas need to be aware of health and safety issues. Take precautions when travelling in disaster affected areas and wear protective clothing, particularly when clearing debris.
If your property is badly damaged seek a professional property inspection before entering the house. Services such as water, electricity and gas may have been disconnected.
Contact the service provider for reconnection, do not attempt to do it yourself. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of any loss or damages.
Relevant State and Federal Government authorities, along with other service agencies coordinate recovery operations to help people and communities get back on their feet after an emergency.
Evacuation centres may be established to provide immediate assistance to those evacuated from their homes or who are in need of shelter. If you decide to go to an evacuation centre, you will need to be prepared and take personal requisites such as clothing, medication and bedding with you. Recovery centres may also be established to provide a one-stop-shop for support and assistance.
Council supports leading emergency services agencies to manage and respond to local natural disasters and emergencies.
The role of Council and the agencies in the event of a local emergency is set out in the CGRC Emergency Management Plan which is prepared by emergency services who are part of the Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC).
The EMPLAN covers a broad range of emergencies that may occur in the Cootamundra-Gundagai LGA:
- Transport – Air, Road and Rail
- Biosecurity (Animal and Plant)
In major floods, storms, bushfires and other emergencies, the EMPLAN is activated.
Council’s role in emergency management
Council also has key responsibilities in responding to emergencies and assisting in recovery for example:
- Council functions as a Local Emergency Operations Centre during an emergency, staffed by trained employees. Council will also provide trained officers to liaise with and support the frontline agencies involved such as the SES.
- Council is responsible for public places such as parks and roads. You can ring Council’s 24 hour Customer Service Centre on 1300 459 689 for advice and assistance about storm or flood damage to public places.
Council may provide engineering resources required for response and recovery operations including:
- damage assessment
- undertaking any protection works deemed necessary to combat erosion
- clearance and re-establishment of roads and bridges
- demolition and shoring-up of buildings
- removal of debris from roads and public places
- traffic management on Council managed roads
- construction and maintenance of temporary levees and evacuation routes
- installation of barricades and temporary fencing and/or signage to protect the public against unsafe conditions
- rescue arrangements
- recovery planning
- clean up and disposal
- environmental remediation and restoration
- disaster relief funding