The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that Victoria Police – in collaboration with the community and the emergency management sector – reflect on events of the 2019-20 fire season to review and enhance evacuation plans and processes with consideration of:
a) high risk areas (including remote locations)
b) early evacuation triggers
c) the potential for isolated communities
d) the presence of tourists and non-residents
e) individual decisions to not evacuate
f) the inability to evacuate
g) consequence management and compounding events such as the loss of essential services or health impacts.
Evacuation plans for flood risk communities are being refined to reflect a possible wet spring and COVID-19 requirements.
IGEM notes that VICSES is the control agency for flood and leads the development of Municipal Flood Emergency Plans and Local Flood Guides for communities across the state. VICSES also publishes Regional Flood Emergency Response Plans that are reviewed and updated periodically.
In 2020 VICSES created regional narratives as part of spring preparedness activities that outlined potential flood-related impacts and consequences at the regional tier to inform Regional Emergency Management Teams (REMTs).
DPC is also providing Victorians with information about what to do in an emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a link to the VICSES website that provides further information on preparing for floods and severe weather events. Refer to coronavirus.vic.gov.au/translated-information-about-coronavirus-covid-19
VicPol advised that it does not have standardised evacuation plans ahead of time, as each incident requires a tailored approach that can be modified as an event evolves. It acts on behalf of the Incident Controller (IC) and works with them and agencies to coordinate requirements.
IGEM notes that this action was in response to a potential wet spring in 2020. VicPol advised that briefings conducted across its regions prior to the 2020–21 summer season included presentations from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) on the impact of La Niña weather patterns. VicPol further advised that it requested its regions and divisions to review their internal flood planning in parts of Victoria where above average rainfall may lead to significant flooding.
IGEM further notes that EMV, in collaboration with agencies including VICSES, is preparing to conduct a review that will include capture of sentiment from communities impacted by the June 2021 extreme weather event which generated localised flooding.