The department of Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) ran a very informative training session for managers of agencies involved in setting up, running or supporting evacuation centres in Western Australia. Swan SES was happy to be able to send two members to attend.
During the lecture we learnt how the CPFS and the Local Government Authority (LGA) coordinate to select appropriate evacuation centres. A register of these buildings is maintained to allow quick building access and usage. During an incident, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will call on CPFS to establish an evacuation centre. This provides short term shelter for people who are prevented from returning to their homes or whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. During the activation, CPFS will call on any/all of the following agencies to provide support:
- Local Government Authority – provide support staff from local shires for administration, rangers/advocates to resolve animal issues.
- Red Cross – evacuation centre attendees are requested to register their details with centre staff. The registrations are entered into the National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS) by the Red Cross. The NRIS allows authorities, friends and relatives of attendees to find people affected during an incident.
- Salvation Army and the Country Women’s Association (CWA) – will provide catering for staff, volunteers and centre attendees.
- Centrelink – will help attendees with financial assistance for individual assistance, temporary living expenses, emergency replacement of essential household items and household repairs.
- State Emergency Service (SES) – via DFES, SES units can be mobilised to provide logistics support.
- Telstra – provide essential communications services for attendees, including Wifi hotspots and pre-paid mobile phones for contacting family and/or organising accommodation.
The lecture covered important aspects of setting up an evacuation centre. Assigning areas for registration, first aid, sleeping, counselling, parking, information distribution and attendees’ animals. Being aware of the psychological strain and trauma attendees may be suffering. How to provide a safe environment with support, respect and reassurance for all who attend.
Swan SES would like to thank Terry Sillitto and his staff for taking time to provide such an informative morning. We’re looking forward to helping out should the need arise.