Michelle Holweg, Donna Volp and Lisa Bourne from the Red Cross praise the Southern Downs for their disaster management initiative.
Michelle Holweg, Donna Volp and Lisa Bourne from the Red Cross praise the Southern Downs for their disaster management initiative. Shannon Newley

Disaster sessions hailed a success

WARWICK was leading the way for disaster management, state recovery manager for Red Cross, Lisa Bourne told volunteers yesterday.

Twenty-five people from all over the Southern Downs turned out for a number of sessions to learn how best to react in the case of a disaster such as the January floods.

Mrs Bourne said the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) had taken the impressive initiative to organise the information sessions.

“It’s a great initiative and we really need to congratulate (organiser) Bette Bonney and the council,” she said.

“I wish all communities were doing this, it is a very practical way to prepare for a disaster and it also helps build the community togetherness.”

She said by creating community preparedness, we would all be better off if a disaster hit.

Among the volunteers were Cee Utz, Christel Hetherington and Janet Hobbs, who said the community of Leyburn would benefit from the training they received.

“We were cut off from everyone for 10 days throughout the floods,” Mrs Hobbs said.

“We couldn’t even get to our neighbours.”

But she said the next time around the community would be ready.

“We have been dubbed the ‘Leyburn Effect’ because we have been so proactive,” she said.

Harley West, of Landcare, presented his method for co-ordinating volunteers to help fix farmers’ fences after the floods.

He said it usually took a disaster for the best ideas to come out.

“To give the community a higher level of preparedness is definitely going to benefit it in the long run,” he said.

Warwick Volunteer co-ordinator for the Volunteer Project said she was thrilled with the turnout.

“It really gives the community the confidence and resilience to deal with disasters,” she said.

“We are looking to do this training elsewhere and evening sessions for people who couldn’t make it during the day,” she said.

“And we hope to provide further training for people who want to be team leaders or in higher roles.”



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