Emergency services to build community connection

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) volunteers and staff will be among thousands hitting the streets this August, working to create connections within the community to help prepare for disasters.


Acting QFES Commissioner Mike Wassing said the new initiative Operation Community Connect (OCC) would help connect Queenslanders with their local emergency services personnel and volunteer networks.


“QFES personnel will be out in the community in August talking with locals about how they can build community resilience to help Queenslanders prepare for, withstand, and recover from disasters,” Mr Wassing said.


“In some areas you’ll see volunteers at community events, bowls clubs, surf clubs and local shopping centres.


“The initiative will be led by QFES in partnership with Red Cross, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR), Local Government Association Queensland (LGAQ) and Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA).


“Not only is it about connecting with your local volunteer networks, it’s also about Queenslanders connecting with each other.


“Volunteers and staff will be handing out teabags as part of the initiative, to encourage residents to make time for a ‘cuppa’ and start discussions with family, friends or neighbours.


“With a combined effort from a wide range of agencies, OCC is a wonderful and unique opportunity for the community to access volunteer networks and start important conversations.”


Mr Wassing said community resilience had never been more essential, with a number of ferocious weather events in recent years.


“We have seen horrific bushfires, unprecedented floods and numerous cyclones impact communities across the state,” he said.


“We need residents to be prepared for the unexpected. Making connections with each other and local volunteers will make Queensland stronger in the face of adversity.


“It’s about asking yourself: Do you know your local risks and what to do to prepare? Do you know your neighbours in case of emergency? Where will you go if you need to evacuate?


“Community resilience has a ripple effect – the conversation can start with one person who then shares with family, friends and the wider community.


“You can’t have community without ‘unity’.”


8 August 2019.