In May 2008 Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Victorian State Emergency Service and the Rural City of Wangaratta to develop a FloodSafe education program.
Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) CEO, Mary Barry said the MOU was developed to formalise the partnership between the key stakeholders including communities along the Ovens, King, Kiewa Rivers and 15 mile Creek catchments to be prepare for floods.
“The FloodSafe flood education program introduces the new colour coded flood warning system to “at risk” communities which empowers and skills both residents and businesses to play a more proactive role in dealing with local flood emergencies,” Ms Barry said.
“Flooding causes significant property damage and personal injury each year, so it is important that communities are well prepared and well informed about what to expect, but need to keep in mind that no two floods are ever the same.”
"Like fires, it is impossible to predict when a flood will occur, but being alert to weather bureau ‘severe weather’ warnings is a good start. Unlike fires however, there is no way to fight a flood and many homes in the flood’s path may need to be evacuated, pets and all! Being flood prepared can reduce the impact of flood damage,” Ms Barry said.
Also attending the official signing of the MOU were other key partners in this new community safety initiative including Bureau of Meteorology - Flood Warning engineers, the North East Catchment Management Authority’s Floodplain manager and a significant contingent of SES volunteers from the local Bright, Myrtleford and Wangaratta SES units.
“The signing of this MOU is the first step in helping to make our North East communities FloodSafe. Now we move into the next stage of community meetings and door-knocking residents who reside in ‘high risk’ areas and making the community aware of the significant impact of isolation which often follows major flood events such as the last big flood of 1993, when even the large regional town of Wangaratta was cut off from the outside world,” Ms Barry said.
For more information, Contact Sue Sheldrick, Community Education Officer with the SES at North East Regional Headquarters. Ph: 0400 877 731