Central Coast Council joined the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and other emergency services and support agencies on Friday 9th September 2022 at the Central Coast Fire Control Center in Charmhaven to carry out an incident trial exercise of emergency to prepare for the 2022/2023 bushfire season as well as future emergency events.
The RFS conducted an Incident Management Exercise (IMX) to establish a learning environment for participants to practice and test their emergency response capabilities with regards to response and recovery operations. The IMX involved a major bushfire event in nearby Lake Macquarie Local Government Area which involved ‘mock’ interjections of various emergency scenarios and the activation of emergency operations centers (EOC) of Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast to support RFS as the primary combat agency. for bush fires.
The IMX ensures that Lake Macquarie and Central Coast Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) are sufficiently prepared to respond to a major bushfire event, or other emergency, which requires a coordinated response between several areas and local government agencies.
Participants at this IMX included:
• NSW Rural Fire Service
• New South Wales Police
• New South Wales State Emergency Service
• Fire and Rescue NSW
• New South Wales Ambulance
• Health New South Wales
• NSW Transportation
• Central Coast Council
• Macquarie Lake Council
• New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority
• National Parks and Wildlife Services
• Salvation Army
This is one of the activities that the Central Coast LEMC undertakes and/or participates in to ensure that they are prepared and well trained to respond to any natural disaster or emergency event – which is in line with the Council’s community education campaign to encourage local residents to also ‘Get Prepared’ to understand their risks and be prepared for emergencies with an up-to-date emergency plan.
The central coast having experienced a wide range of emergency events and extreme weather conditions in recent years, including severe bushfires, storms, floods and coastal erosion, in addition to the Covid pandemic -19, the Council has experience in responding to emergencies, working closely with the emergency services. suppliers and support agencies and our local communities. However, each event has its own challenges and unique set of circumstances where lessons can be learned, and the Central Coast LEMC as well as the Board have post-event evaluation processes to identify these and develop recommendations as part of the process. an action plan to ensure improvements. can be implemented in preparation before the next event.
In an emergency, connectivity with your neighbors is important and this is no different for the Council, emergency service providers and support agencies which rely on planned and coordinated teamwork. for robust and coordinated response and recovery actions.
- For information and community resources on emergency preparedness, go to the dedicated Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Council webpage at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au.
- For more information on emergency service providers and emergency management, visit the Council’s website here.
Counsel’s Role in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, the Council is not an emergency service provider.
During natural disasters and emergencies, the following agencies are the main providers of emergency services, also known as combat agencies:
- For emergencies during bushfires, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au) is the main provider of emergency services.
- For emergencies during storms, floods, tsunamis or coastal erosion events, the NSW State Emergency Service (www.ses.nsw.gov.au) is the main provider of emergency services.
The council’s role in a local emergency is to:
- Serve as a conduit for key emergency event information from emergency service providers (e.g. RFS and SES).
- Support the primary emergency service provider with the resources, people and equipment they need to manage the emergency and any follow-up recovery action (in accordance with the legislative requirements of the National Emergency Management Plan
- Continue our constant and close monitoring of open spaces, reserves, facilities and roads managed by the Council for any impact.
- Mobilize our own resources, people and equipment to respond to any identified impact.
- Provide key information to the community and relevant stakeholders on the impact of Council services or facilities, such as water and sewer services, waste collection, and the availability of day care centres, libraries and community halls.
- Foster community-based approaches to deal with the emergency.
The Central Coast Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be activated (or lifted) during an emergency event at the discretion of the Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCON) working for NSW Police. If the EOC is activated during an emergency event, the advice:
- Ensure the EOC is functional and adequately resourced to support an emergency response.
- Provide Local Emergency Management Officer (LEMO) to support emergency response coordination, Liaison Officer (LO) to act as intermediary between EOC and Council Incident Management Team (IMT) and provide other support staff such as communications officers.
The council works closely with the Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) to ensure that all aspects of emergency response are well supported and resourced.
For more information on emergency service providers and emergency management, visit the Council’s website here.
Key contact details during an emergency event
- In a life-threatening emergency or for urgent assistance from the police, fire or ambulance services, dial 000 (Triple Zero).
- Bushfires: For bushfire emergencies, call 000 (Triple Zero). For information on current incidents, call the Bushfire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or check the NSW Rural Fire Service website, social media or the Fires Near Me app.
- Storms, floods, tsunamis or coastal erosion events: Call SES NSW on 132 500, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also contact SES if you have suffered damage from storms, wind, hail or a fallen tree and if a tree branch threatens your property or someone else’s safety.
- Central Coast Council: To report urgent issues, such as water, sewage, road hazards, or to contact the rangers in an emergency, please call the Council on 1300 463 954. The Council has an emergency call service available outside opening hours. Non-emergency inquiries, requests and reports can be directed to the Council at any time through the online customer service center at any time.
main photo – NSW RFS Incident Management Exercise, September 2022
photos in a report – Emergency operations center during a bushfire in 2019