ACT Government support to Canberrans during and following a disaster
The ACT Government provides community recovery services to assist individuals, families and communities deal with the impact of a disaster or major emergency. There will be a range of services aimed at recovery in the social, economic, infrastructure and environment domains. Services will be delivered by a range of government agencies and charities.
Following a disaster there may be the need for large-scale clean-up and repairs, including to infrastructure such as roads and power lines. The services required by people affected by an emergency may include personal, material and financial support, or temporary accommodation. The breadth and level of recovery services delivered depends on the severity of the disaster and how Canberrans have been affected.
Following a disaster, the ACT Government will provide information on assistance available and households, organisations, businesses and primary producers.
Surviving a disaster
Disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives. Your survival depends on your preparations, and the decisions you make.
Prepare for a possible evacuation by completing a Grab and Go booklet along with making reference to the Summer Heat Information and the St John First Aid Information . The Australian Red Cross has excellent information on preparing for emergencies.
Many disasters will affect essential services and possibly interrupt the ability to travel or communicate with others. You need to be prepared to cope on your own for up to two days or more following a major disaster.
This is when you will be most vulnerable. Agree on a personal support network to check in on family members in an emergency.
If you are asked to evacuate it is because there is a real danger. Don’t “wait and see”. It is important you follow the instructions in emergency warnings.
If conditions are bad, do not wait for an evacuation warning. Leaving late is the most dangerous option. On days of Catastrophic fire danger rating leaving is the ONLY option to ensure you and your families’ survival. On days of Severe or Extreme fire danger rating, leaving is the safest option for you and your family.
If you expect you may need to evacuate, prepare and check your Getaway Kit within the Grab and Go Booklet.
If an evacuation is called in your area you will receive information from:
- ABC Radio Canberra: ABC 666 AM
- Access Canberra on 13 22 81
- Social Media at Emergency Services Agency twitter account @ACT_ESA and ESA Facebook
- Emergency Alert phone warnings
- Possibly street patrols and door knocking by emergency services.
- ACT local media outlets
Evacuation centres will be established in a safe location. Evacuation centres provide recovery services such as mental health support, food and drink, personal items such as clothing and toiletries, financial support, and temporary accommodation assistance.
Information on the location of evacuation centres will be provided via radio, phone, social media and in person by emergency agency personnel.
Pets and assistance animals are always welcome at evacuation centres.
RSPCA ACT provides information on how to prepare for emergencies and avoid potentially dangerous situations for your pets.
Helping the community following a disaster or major emergency
When a disaster strikes, many Australians are moved to assist in any way they can. The ACT Government acknowledges the generosity of the Canberra public who provide financial and non-financial support during these times.
Information on appeals and in-kind donations will be made public via ACT Government websites, radio, social media and by charities.
The most effective way we can help is by contributing money. Donating money is always the best option because it is more flexible, provides choice, promotes self-directed recovery and accurately targets need.
In addition to public appeals, major charities including the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul may seek donations to assist disaster-affected people.
In kind donations (goods and services)
Following a disaster, charities will let people know what types of goods are required.
Often people think to help by donating our second-hand clothing and goods. But, what many of us don’t realise is that these types of donations can create significant extra work for authorities and can distract recovery efforts and undermine community resilience.
Managing unsolicited donated goods takes time and focus away from the very important work that needs to be done with disaster affected people.
People are often eager to volunteer to help those affected. Volunteering and Contact ACT coordinates emergency volunteers and works with the ACT Government and charities to get volunteers to where they are needed.
People volunteering directly at Evacuation or Assistance Centres will be redirected to Volunteering and Contact ACT.