Fires reinforce the need for professionalism and planning

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Fires happen. The past four months have been ‘catastrophic’ with drought and tinder dry bush.

But fire happens every year in villages for domestic reasons, as many as you would know. We report in The Weekly SOURCE newsletter an average of four village homes being burnt to the ground every winter because a heater or a stove is left on.

Having plans and policies in place is vital – and now required in NSW with their new Rules of Conduct. And the plans must include the unexpected.

We spoke to Patrick Reid, the CEO of NSW South Coast based IRT who had seven aged care homes and seven villages in the fire zones on New Year’s Eve.

One of the challenges they had to handle was nine residents that required ambulance evacuation from their Dalmeny aged care centre but the local town of Narooma only had two ambulances and multiple calls for them.

Telephone lines also failed as communication towers burnt down; and they had to ensure sites had enough supplies of pureed and texture modified food.

Their pharmacists also stepped up to ensure residents were provided with their medication, with their Malua Bay pharmacist still seeing clients despite losing his home in the fires

We also spoke to Nikki Fisher, COO at Ingenia. They had 10 land lease communities and holiday communities in the fire zone over the Christmas/New Year. At Lake Conjola they lost two homes to fire (while the local community lost 70 homes) and had no power for eight days with 73 residents who had decided to stay despite evacuation advice.

Ingenia worked with Emergency headquarters to have police escorts to bring in generators and satellite phones and sent out over 10,000 emails to families updating on events.

(For more background and lessons from Ingenia see next Tuesday’s the Weekly SOURCE newsletter).

The message is we all must be professional in our preparation for the unexpected. Tools and education are available through membership of our DCM Institute personal development program. You can learn more HERE.

Photographs courtesy of Ingenia.

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