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Special Committees - Emergency management

As part of Council, the committee has emergency management responsibilities. The committee is responsible for:
• Preventing emergencies, where possible, by maintaining the facility and addressing issues as they occur;
• Identifying potential risks and taking preventative action;
• Cooperating with emergency services personnel;
• Cooperating with Council’s emergency management team;
• Ensuring that evacuation plans for the facility are prominently displayed.

Use of a facility as a relief centre, recovery centre or emergency services staging area

Council will contact the committee if the facility is required as an emergency relief centre, recovery centre or emergency services staging area. The committee must then contact hirers to cancel all bookings.

It is often difficult to know how long a facility will be needed, so the committee should be prepared to contact anyone who has booked the facility and advise that the facility is not available.

Committee members should not attend the facility during an emergency.

Only authorised personal (i.e. Council, Police, Red Cross) are allowed to access or open the facility when a relief or recovery centre is activated.

Committee members should only attend a relief or recover centre is they are personally evacuating or seeking emergency assistance.

Committee members have no responsibility to assist with the operation of a relief or recovery centre and cannot direct the public or emergency services workers attending the facility in how the building is being used.

Any damage that may occur to the facility while it is being used by emergency services is covered under Council’s insurance policy.

Committees should call the Council contact officer to discuss claiming these costs.

Neighbourhood safer places

Committees should be aware that some facilities are designated as Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSP) and may be activated as such without notice.

These facilities are currently designed as Neighbourhood Safer Places:
• Campbells Creek Community Centre
• John Powell Reserve
• Bill Woodfull Recreation Reserve Oval and Pavilion
• Newstead Community Centre
• Taradale Hall

A NSP is a place of last resort in bushfire emergencies only. They are a last resort shelter that may assist people when there is imminent threat of bushfire and they have no plan, or their planned options have failed. NSPs are not locations to relocate to when leaving early. On days when there is advice to leave early people should relocate well away to an area of lower risk either the night before or early in the morning.

No amenities (such as food, water, or medical care) are provided at Neighbourhood Safer Places. NSPs have a key safe and a sign displaying a contact phone number for Council’s Municipal Emergency Resource Officer (MERO) and Victoria Police to help people get access to these buildings when there is an imminent threat of bushfire.

Committee members must not provide access to a facility during an emergency. Only authorised emergency services workers will provide access to ensure there is a record of people at risk at the facility.

Committee members should only attend a NSP if their personal emergency management plans have failed.

Committee members have no responsibility to assist with, or defend, a facility under threat of a bushfire.

Bookings during fire season and on Code Red days

During the fire season the committee must be aware of fire danger ratings. If a Code Red day is declared for the North Central district on the day of a booking, the facility must be closed and the booking postponed or cancelled. It is the committees responsibility to monitor the fire danger rating and notify the hirer if the booking must be cancelled.

Council will contact the committee if the facility is required as an Emergency Relief or Recovery Centre. The committee should then contact hirers to cancel all bookings, if committee members are able to do so and are not impacted by the emergency. This condition should be included in the booking form for hirers.

Committees should be aware that some facilities are designated by the CFA as Neighbourhood Safer Places and may be activated as such without notice.

Fire prevention works

It is the committee’s responsibility to ensure that grass is cut to less than 10cm during the fire season, unless an alternative arrangement is noted in the instrument of delegation.

Committees can lodge a service request if the facility’s gutters are blocked by debris or leaf litter. Any work at height requires a risk assessment to be undertaken, and may require the use of contractors to be undertaken safely. Committees can seek advice from the Council contact officer.

The pruning and maintenance of trees is the responsibility of Council. If there are trees overhanging buildings or coming into contact with powerlines, the committee can lodge a service request to have them pruned.

Evacuation plans

Evacuation plans and emergency procedures must be displayed prominently in all facilities.

Reporting incidents

Committees are responsible for reporting all incidents to Council which involve actual or potential harm to persons or property. Timely reporting of incidents is a crucial step in arranging an adequate response and for the proactive prevention of future incidents. Reporting incidents helps provide a safe environment for users of facilities. Reporting incidents to Council also prevents the committee members from being prosecuted for failing to report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe, as required by Health and Safety legislation.

In all cases where someone has been injured or property has been damaged the committee must:Render assistance if safe to do so > do not disrupt or clean the site > take photos of the location if possible > notify the committee contact officer as soon as possible

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