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Video April Forum: Extreme weather — are we ready?

Thursday, 7 Apr
7:00 pmto8:30 pm

Sustainable Living Armidale is presenting a forum this Thursday focusing on the readiness of our community to deal with extreme weather events.

The Forum will be held on 7 April,  at Kent House and on Zoom, 128 Faulkner Street Armidale commencing at 7pm.
Speakers will give their perspective on some of the ways that community members can actively participate in community response  and recover to extreme weather events. Speakers include Steve Bramley from BackTrack, Ed Mortimer from Resilient Lismore and Sewa Emojong, Startup Activator for the UNE SRI Scorched Program.

Severe flooding on the NSW north coast in February and March again highlighted the need for all communities to take notice of increasingly severe, unprecedented weather events and to be prepared. Disaster events are challenging us to rapidly evolve our ability to be ready for, respond to and recover and live in a sustainable way.

The outstanding emergency management skills provided by government services as well as volunteers from the State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service is invaluable in enabling communities to meet the challenges of disaster events. In his book Firestorm, Greg Mullins, former Commissioner, Fire and Rescue Service warns that, as demonstrated during the Black Summer bushfires, the sheer scale, duration and geographic footprint can overwhelm response capabilities meaning that help may not be available when most needed. Among other things, he calls for a greater emphasis on building community resilience and ensuring that communities are fully involved in their own recovery.

Steve Bramley will give us an update on the way BackTrack is expanding its capacity in the area of community resilience. In its role of providing learning, training, work experience and employment and helping young people to contribute and connect with their community, BackTrack has really stepped forward in helping with clean up and recovery after disaster events. Many residents who were impacted by the tornado have expressed their strong appreciation of the effort put in by Backtrack workers to help them.

They were on the ground at 7 am the morning after the tornado, ready to assist. They also responded to the Black Summer bushfires by helping to build fences for bushfire recovery, learning new skills and providing support to farmers who lost much of their infrastructure during the bushfires.

Elly Bird will speak on Resilient Lismore, a collaborative community effort to provide information and connect people willing to volunteer their time or services to help Lismore residents affected by flood. Set up in response to floods in 2017, the group works with emergency services, government and media to share accurate information and to provide a registration platform for people affected by flooding to ask for assistance and link their requests to volunteers wishing to help those in need. They also aim to share stories from the flood and flood recovery and promote future flood preparedness. There is opportunity for Armidale community to draw on their blueprint and experience to develop a similar resource for Armidale and related communities.

In her role as Startup Activator for the UNE SRI Scorched Program, Sewa Emojong has been meeting with community members to gather their experiences of the bushfire and tornado events. The Scorched Project aims to grow our ability to mitigate bushfires and to help our communities to recover and build resilience in the face of challenges such as drought, bushfire and tornado. Sewa will share some of the ideas that participants have shared at workshops for building business and economic resilience to the challenges posed by climate extremes.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and share a cuppa following the presentations.

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