Wellington Shire Council is urging residents who live in an area that is classed as at-risk for bushfire or flood to have relocation plans in place prior to an emergency event.
Covid-19 and State Control Centre advice has forced changes to the way Council will provide emergency shelter and emergency relief assistance. Gathering evacuees in enclosed spaces and in close proximity poses a Covid-19 risk, so Emergency Relief Centres (ERCs) will only be opened as a last resort.
Council will instead encourage evacuees to take up private accommodation where their property is under threat of bushfire, flood or other emergency. Private accommodation may include with friends, family or in a motel, caravan park or lodge.
Financial support towards private accommodation options will only be offered to those who:
Emergency Relief will not be provided through a physical building. Instead, relief support will be accessed through a virtual emergency relief centre with staff available via phone, on 1300 137 218.
Covid-19, and the possibility of an emergency situation occurring during a Covid-19 outbreak means it has never been more important for every resident to make a personal emergency plan for themselves and their family.
The key message is to evacuate to an area outside the impacted zone early using a planned route. Have a 'grab and go' bag packed with the essentials you need to make a fast escape - this should contain a first-aid kit, torch, bottled water, canned food, batteries, a radio and a list of emergency numbers. Include a waterproof bag containing your phone, key documents and valuables.
Residents will be asked, where able, to make their own arrangements. So make a list of hotel and motel providers in safe areas. Consider, also, that you might be evacuating with pets or other animals.
You can stay updated on emergency relief options and services by:
If you require emergency assistance during a flood or storm, phone SES on 132 500. To report a fire, including a bushfire, or a life-threatening emergency, phone 000.
You will be advised by the CFA or Victoria Police when it is safe to return to your property.
There may be many reasons why you are unable to return home, such as health and safety hazards, hygiene considerations or missing persons.
If you are experiencing significant loss or financial difficulties due to the damage or loss of property caused by an emergency such as fire or flood, you can access financial crisis support and emergency assistance on the Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) website or the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line 1300 799 232.
If you are affected by an incident you are encouraged to see your GP, call a 24-hour telephone helpline or seek specialist counselling and support services. Talking it over with others often helps recovery from exposure to traumatic events.
The Municipal Relief and Recovery Plan is a subplan of the Municipal Emergency Management Plan intended to assist in the planning and preparation for all types of emergencies that will require relief and recovery support; and sets out the arrangements for managing the planning and delivery of relief and recovery activities within the Shire.
Emergency relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people with basic needs in times of crisis. Emergency relief can act as a safety net for people in financial distress or hardship, who have limited support.
Wellington Shire residents experiencing financial or personal distress.
The Emergency Relief and Client Support Services brochure will provide more information about the services available.