With disaster season upon us, a community-led model of planning for disasters today launches after being developed in one of Australia’s most disaster-prone regions.
Red Cross has led the development of a Community-led Resilience Teams (CRT) guide which shows how community members and emergency agencies including Red Cross can work together to strengthen local resilience in the event of a disaster.
“With climate change making for more frequent and intense disasters, the impacts of these events continues to worsen,” Red Cross State Manager Poppy Brown said. “Unfortunately it’s often those most vulnerable who are hardest hit, disrupting their hopes and lives for years.
“At the same time there’s a global shift towards sharing responsibility for emergency management between government, emergency agencies and local communities, meaning local people are increasingly taking on responsibility for their own preparedness, response and recovery.
“We’ve produced a guide which captures the strengths of local communities, who know their own history, risks, geography and people better than anyone, to improve their preparedness and resilience for events. CRTs provide a way for local people to support each other and build on their own capacity, with support and advice from emergency agencies including Red Cross
The guide gives simple steps and practical examples of what has worked. This includes the story of Chillingham in Northern NSW. In 2019, as bushfires approached, the community activated their CRT to give people advance notice of how to get their households ready: what to pack, where to evacuate, how to prepare stock and pets so they could leave early. The community plan meant that vulnerable and medically at-risk residents who may be most affected by smoke were safe and were supported to evacuate first. The CRT meant that community and emergency services were able to communicate clearly and effectively, with everyone feeling calmer and more in control.