After emergencies

Scotsburn Fire Game with community recovery committee members

After an emergency, contacting Council is often the best way to get help and answers to your questions.

We have Planners, Building Surveyors and Environmental Health staff that can assist with queries specific to your situation.

Following a significant emergency event, you may be without power for days, or access to or from your home could be cut off.

The first 72 hours are usually the most crucial. It’s during this time that services will be inundated with requests for help. This is one of the many reasons why it’s essential to have a comprehensive plan in place.

Various government agencies provide a range of assistance, however being self-sufficient, prepared and organised will all help you with a speedy recovery.

 

What Council does after an emergency

After the emergency event, Council moves from the relief stage into the recovery stage, where we aim to assist by supporting the impacted community.  For all emergency events, even if the event has impacted only a single home, Council will assist the affected community members.

The nature of recovery will vary according to the emergency and can take on many different forms. In a high level situation where whole communities are impacted, Council may establish an Emergency Recovery Centre. This could be a point of information, all the way through to providing accommodation. A variety of agencies and organisations may operate out of Council’s Emergency Recovery Centre and offer a range of programs and support to the community.

 

Looking after yourself after an emergency

Health

It is important to ensure your health, and the health of those around you is in check.

Your mental health could be affected, it is important to look after yourself.  Some key resources could be the Smiling Minds app, listening to clinical psychologist Dr. Rob Gordon, attending community meetings, getting referrals to community health organisations, talking to your doctor or chatting with a friend.

All people can suffer heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Pay particular attention to older people, children, babies and expectant mothers.

The longer an emergency lasts, the more likely people will suffer from stress. Symptoms will appear either during or after an emergency. People are encouraged to look after themselves and use support to recover.

 

Finances

Each emergency will trigger different levels of financial assistance and support. The agencies and organisations listed below will be able to provide you with information relating to the support that may be available.

finances

Centrelink: 132 850

Insurance Council of Australia: 1300 728 228

Victoria Legal Aid: 1800 677 402

Victorian Disaster Legal Help:  1800 113 432

Telstra (Register for an assistance package): 132 203

Ausnet Services: 1300 360 795

Australian Tax Office: 13 2861

Consumer Affairs Victoria: 1300 55 81 81 

Insurance, mortgages and credit, budgeting and financial assistance are all things you will need to consider after an emergency.  The State Government and Centrelink may be able to assist you.

 

Insurance

Making early contact with your insurance company is important. Speak with your insurer before authorising any major repairs and only make minor repairs to ensure its safety. Make an inventory of your lost property, including food, as a result of the emergency. Contact Council if you need assistance from our emergency staff or a building inspector to provide documentation to you for your insurance company.

 

Accommodation

If you cannot stay at your property or with family or friends after an emergency please contact us for assistance.  We will be able to help or provide information on short, medium and long term accommodation options. 

 

Water

If your water has been used by fire management agencies, the State Government will replace essential water. We can help you to arrange this.

If your property relies on tanks, you must check whether the water has been contaminated before consuming it. Get the water tested for contamination or check for floating particles or discoloration. Consider installing a first flush diverter. These are available at most hardware stores.

 

Additional assistance

If you need to discuss anything or need more information please contact us.

Download the Victorian Council of Social Service podcast series about recovering from an emergency(link is external)