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    Wimmera Emergency Management co-ordinator John Hutchins.

Wimmera Emergency Relief Centre summer revamp

COVID-19 restrictions have prompted a redesign of relief-centre operations in the event of a major emergency this summer.

In most disasters, authorities establish an Emergency Relief Centre, ERC, to provide information about the emergency and referrals available to support communities.

This summer, while most services will still be available, there will be no physical relief centre for people to attend.

Wimmera Emergency Management co-ordinator John Hutchins said social-distancing rules meant it might be impossible to establish a usually crowded meeting place that people might be familiar with during a disaster.

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“Instead, there will be a virtual relief centre involving council emergency management staff working hard behind the scenes to provide affected people with information and deliver access to relief support services to assist with their immediate needs,” he said.

“If you have been displaced from your home it is important to register via the Red Cross ‘Register Find Reunite’ website and then contact your local council office if you require further support or information. It is also important to complete your RediPlan and remember to plan for the relocation of your pets. It is important to note that if you are feeling anxious, concerned or alone, please reach out and talk to someone about your situation. You are not alone in this.”

Mr Hutchins said the hope was the virtual ERC would provide support communities needed during an emergency.

“We will continue to review and adapt its content as the situation evolves to ensure that it stays informative, responsive and relevant,” he said.

Mr Hutchins said during an emergency, people who were unwell or had COVID-19 symptoms should isolate from others, wear a face covering and get tested as soon as possible.

“If you are in quarantine or isolation due to coronavirus, you can leave your home if you are in an emergency or your home is unsafe – but try to get back into self-isolation as soon as you safely can,” he said.

The entire October 20, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!