Our region has experienced everything from earthquakes and bushfires through to global pandemics, many of them have occurred over the past 12 months.
We work closely with a range of local agencies, such as Victoria Police, Country Fire Authority and VICSES, to help the Geelong community prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, as outlined in the Geelong Municipal Emergency Management Plan.
In Emma Anderson’s role as an emergency management officer at the City, she helps provide support and information across various stages of an emergency to agencies and the community.
She’s particularly passionate about working with communities to improve their resilience and knowledge of emergencies.
What first made you interested in emergency management and what do you love about it?
I started as a volunteer fire fighter and it was through the brigades in schools program that I found a love of working with communities.
I have since worked across Queensland and Victoria in state and local government emergency management roles, and across a range of hazards like bushfires, floods, storms, cyclones and tornadoes.
What I love most about emergency management is meeting the various communities and working with them to be better prepared for all hazards.
Do you remember a particularly rewarding moment in your role at the City?
The Two-Way Fire Safety project, which incorporates the Breamlea and Anakie communities, has been running for 18 months. In this time, a number of outcomes have been achieved. The most notable include:
- installation of three new fire prohibition signs in Breamlea
- creation of a visitor fire safety brochure for Breamlea
- repairs to the De Motts Road shoulder in Anakie and
- advocating for the installation of satellite Wi-Fi in Anakie, which is due to be installed by Christmas.
What’s something the community might not know about the service we provide?
We have a role in planning and supporting communities in emergencies across a number of different teams, including Emergency Management and Fire Prevention, City Works, Environmental Health, Community Care, Economic Development, Connected Communities and Communications.
We also set up emergency relief centres to provide shelter and support for our residents in an emergency.
As we come into the warmer months, what are your tips for residents who may be concerned about bushfires or in high-risk areas?
My three key tips coming into the fire season that are relevant for all hazards are:
- Have a written plan that is known and shared among everyone in the household and includes any pets – we know emergencies can be very stressful events, will you remember a plan that is just in your head?
- Have a well-prepared property – this includes ensuring you have the appropriate insurance for your house and property.
- Stay informed – be aware of the weather conditions and regularly check for warnings. The VicEmergency App is a great free tool that provides real time information and warnings across Victoria for a range of emergencies, including bushfire.