City of Wanneroo outlines factors in need of special consideration in emergency management plan

City of Wanneroo outlines factors in need of special consideration in emergency management plan

CHILDREN, languages spoken, remote suburbs, aged care facilities and Barbagallo Raceway are factors that warranted special consideration in the City of Wanneroo’s emergency management plan.

The council recently adopted a review of its Local Emergency Management Arrangements (LEMA), which was first implemented in 2012.

The review was done in consultation with Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), Department of Biodiversity, WA Police, State Emergency Services, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Communities and Department of Agriculture and Food WA.

The plan sets out policies for emergency management, roles and responsibilities of public authorities and coordination or of emergency operations.

It also describes emergencies that are likely to occur and strategies or priorities for emergency management and was presented to the State Emergency Management Committee on October 3.

The City’s 2017 review resulted in a revised risk register, which lists fire, storm, heatwave and earthquake as hazards.

“The aim of the City of Wanneroo Local Emergency Management Arrangements is to detail emergency management arrangements and ensure an understanding between agencies and stakeholders in managing emergencies,” it said.

Under special considerations, it noted that the City had a high proportion of young people, with 29 per cent of the population aged 17 and under.

“During an emergency event, children will have unique physiological, psychological, developmental and educational needs,” it said.

“During an emergency the City of Wanneroo will liaise with the Department of Communities emergency services unit duty officer for further advice and assistance.”

The review also noted the City had a multicultural population with many languages spoken, and said during emergencies where language may become a communication barrier, a telephone interpreter service could be used.

It said the northern and northeast parts of the 684sq km covered by the City were considered remote in emergency situations.

“These areas have limited capabilities regarding emergency management,” it said.

“Without readily accessible resources that accompany urbanisation, difficulty may be experienced in managing gthe risks faced.

“For example, a community may have to rely on local volunteer emergency services during the early stages of a major emergency before additional support can be deployed on location.”

The plan noted that the City’s resources could be deleted due to additional deployment needs during severe wind or flash flooding.

It said that there could be traffic congestion around Barbagallo Raceway in Neerabup during popular motoring events.

DFES is the hazard management agency responsible during fires, storms and earthquakes, and the Department of Health is the responsible agency during heatwaves.

To prevent or minimise the impact of hazards, the City’s emergency management strategies include ongoing fire mitigation activities such as prescribed burns, firebreak inspections and supporting volunteer fire brigades.

It also has a pre-winter program of works to prevent the impact of severe storms, including tree pruning, drainage maintenance and public education campaigns.

With regard to media management and public information during emergencies, the plan outlined the public warning system, including websites, information lines, emergency contact numbers and radio broadcasts.

“Communities threatened or impacted by emergencies have an urgent and vital need for information and direction,” it said.

The plan said evacuation strategies were needed during incidents such as cyclones, flooding and bushfires.

“The hazard management agency will makes decisions on evacuation and ensure that community members have appropriate information to make an informed decision as to whether to stay or go during an emergency,” it said.

“The hazard management agency is also responsible for ensuring the safe return of evacuees.

“Schools, hospitals, nursing homes, child care facilities, etc, should each have separate emergency evacuation plans, which show where their populations will assemble for transportation.

“There are eight residential aged care facilities within the City of Wanneroo that offer respite care and three aged care facilities that do not.”

There are also four independent living aged care villages and more than 60 schools within the City.

The plan listed animal welfare as another consideration and said the City’s animal care centre in Ashby would open after hours during emergencies.

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