Disaster Preparedness Project
Eden and Surrounds Disaster Preparedness Project
The full Eden and Surrounds Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience Strategic Plan.
A 5-minute video summary of the project, the three community priorities and the strategic plan.
The Disaster Preparedness Project ran from July 2021 through to June 2023 as a community-led initiative bringing together community members, community groups, emergency services and response agencies, community services, and state, federal and local government in the co-design of a Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience strategic plan for Eden and surrounding villages.
The project was funded by the NSW Government and was led by Dr Jodie Stewart.
The strategic plan has now been published. It reflects the extensive community engagement undertaken throughout the life of the project. It takes a sustained view of disaster preparedness for the region and the ongoing need for improved communication and collaboration between the community and emergency agencies, better community understanding about personal preparedness and how emergencies are managed and enhanced community connection.
We want to thank the project team, the communities of Eden, Wyndham, Rocky Hall, Towamba, Kiah, Wonboyn and Nethercote, local emergency services agencies, community services organisations and government bodies for their support on this journey.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID THE PROJECT SET OUT TO ADDRESS?
The aim of the project was to build preparedness foundations for Eden and surrounding villages to stand together, united to prepare and recover from disasters and the challenges of the future. Specifically, the need to address gaps in personal preparedness and response communication were identified by the Eden Community Access Centre following the bushfires of 2019-2020.
The Disaster Preparedness Project focused on drawing on the strengths of local knowledge and connections and working with agencies. This project intersected with other Access Centre and Eden Recovery and Resilience Alliance (ERRA) projects designed to build Eden’s self-reliance, strength and adaptability including the development of a Community Hub, the Rural Support Workers program and the Community Battery project.
The aim was to share expertise and knowledge, build better disaster preparation initiatives and enable collaboration and coordination in planning for and recovering from disasters and emergencies.
DETERMINING COMMUNITY PRIORITIES
Community Table Talks
Community engagement was central to harnessing the community’s preparedness wisdom and to ensuring the plan would be community informed and led.
From May to November 2022, a series of structured conversations were held in Eden and surrounding communities.
The project team coordinated 17 Community Table Talk conversations and workshops as the groundwork for determining the community’s priorities for disaster preparedness.
Three calling questions
People came together to respond to three ‘calling’ questions: What has helped you manage through a disaster? What would make you better prepared for future disasters? What could we do together as a community to be better prepared for future disasters?
Consistent themes emerged from the Community Table Talks series. They are:
- education, information and training are critical to empowering people to be at their best in times of disaster.
- effective communication with neighbours and two-way communication between the community and authorities is essential, and
- social connection is vital to being a well-prepared community.
Surrounding communities including Wyndham and Rocky Hall subsequently held information sessions about the Red Cross’ Community-led Resilience Teams model and how it might be applied to their needs. The residents of Eden Cove estate in Eden and Eden’s Happy Valley community also explored the Community-Led Resilience Team model.
Resilient Eden Community Workshops
Two Resilient Eden Community Workshops held in November 2022 brought the community together to review the outcomes of the community table talks and to assess existing models, tools and techniques to determine what would work for Eden’s needs and priorities. You can watch the promotional video for the workshops here.
One of those models used in other communities was a Project Lab.
CONTINUING THE WORK OF THE PROJECT
The Project Lab
The Project Lab launched in February 2023 and continues to function every second Thursday evening at the Eden Log Cabin from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. The projects being developed there are part of a living and evolving self-organised plan for Eden and surrounds beyond the life of the project.
The three community priorities – education, communication and community connection – are reflected in the projects being progressed through the Lab.
Dinner is served and all community members are welcome to participate according to their interest and capacity. All projects are welcome, not necessarily those specifically focused on disaster preparedness.
The Prepared for Disaster program on community radio 2SEA 104.7FM
The Prepared for Disaster community radio program covers a range of disaster preparedness, recovery and resilience topics. The program began in January 2023 and co-ordination transitioned from the Disaster Preparedness Project team to the Youth led Risk Reduction Project team in July 2023. Each fortnight Carol Ahern chats to guests doing great things to make Eden and surrounding areas stronger and better prepared for the future.
The aim is for the program to live on as a communication asset for the community’s ongoing preparedness education and information.
THREE KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE PLAN
The three key recommendations made in the strategic plan have been identified to ensure the community is supported to continue its preparedness journey into the future. These recommendations have been adopted by the Eden Community Access Centre as the responsible body to take this plan forward.
Recommendation 1. That a local community organisation commits to long-term disaster preparedness leadership.
Recommendation 2: That the Project Lab continues to be funded to make sure community preparedness projects are supported.
Recommendation 3: That ongoing attention be given to strengthening collaborative relationships between the community and governments and emergency agencies.
Get in touch
If you would like more information about the Disaster Preparedness Project please contact Carina Severs on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0264963970