Friday, March 12, 2010

emergency planning, fire plans & sharing resources

report from the roundtable – 9 mar
This week’s council meeting saw council sign off on important documents that deal with the Shire’s emergency response and fire prevention plans.

Up for consideration was the Shire’s Municipal Fire Prevention Plan, Municipal Emergency Management Plan and the Protocol for Inter-Council Emergency Management Resource Sharing.

Municipal Fire Prevention Plan aims to identify fire related risks in the shire and outline how council will responds to those risks and contribute to the overall fire prevention effort in the region. The Plan has been fully reviewed and updated to include the recommendations by the Bushfires Royal Commission. It has been signed off by the Shire’s Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee.

I was pleased to able the second the motion to adopt the MFPP. It is a comprehensive document that clearly articulates council’s role in fire prevention actions.

Municipal Emergency Management Plan is half way through a two stage twelve month review. The Shire’s current MEMP has been updated in include recommendations from the Bushfires Royal Commission and to clarify some of the revised responses by the Shire of Yarra Ranges to relief and recovery practices as a result of our recent experience from the Black Saturday bushfires. The latest version also includes details about Neighbourhood Safer Places.

The Shire’s MEMP is reviewed annually by the Emergency and Safety Planning Unit to ensure it is relevant and up to date. After our experiences of the Black Saturday bushfire and due to the Bushfires Royal Commission the MEMP is undergoing significant changes and is under a full review.

Amendments to the MEMP considered at this council meeting include:
· New staff positions in the Municipal Emergency Coordination Centre (MECC), Emergency Relief Centres (ERCs) and in the field;
· Role Statements for each position in the MECC and ERCs;

· Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each task required for emergency response and relief;
· Revised MECC structure dependant upon the scale of an emergency;
· Revised MECC floor plan;
· Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration, Communications, Safety (SMEACS)briefing tool;
· Sub-plan Coordinators are now called Operations Officers (MECC and field operations) or Officers (logistics and planning in the MECC);
· Revised MECC and ERC activation phases in line with the new Fire Danger Index warning system;
· Locations of the new Emergency Relief Centres; and
· New Eastern Region Relief and Recovery arrangements.

I was pleased to be able to move the motion for council to endorse the plan, it is a comprehensive document to outline the shire’s emergency response including relief and recovery.

Protocol for Inter Council Emergency Management Resource Sharing is a document that details an agreed position between councils regarding the provision of council resources to assist other councils with response and recovery tasks during emergencies. The Yarra Ranges council originally adopted the protocol back in October, 2008 however in light of recent changes to emergency management arrangements in Victoria the MAV has requested all councils reconfirm their commitment to the protocol.

At Yarra Ranges we have already seen the spirit of the protocol in action with numerous councils assisting Yarra Ranges to deal with the Black Saturday bushfires. Only last week the protocol came into play with the City of Knox asking Yarra Ranges to be prepared to assist after Knox was pelted in the recent hail storms.

Once again, I was pleased to move the motion. It cements an ongoing and positive relationship with our neighbouring municipalities in times of need during an emergency.

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