Preparing for disaster leads to top prize
WHEN emergency services volunteer Maureen Lynch saw a need for her community of Casino in Northern NSW to be better prepared for disasters, she decided to do something.
She had been motivated by an SES workshop, Stepping Up in your community, and also a successful evening in Kyogle called Bounce Back From Disasters.
Maureen, who's spent 10 years with the Red Cross in Casino, is now a team leader.
She organised a community-led event called Get in the Know Casino to ensure people were more informed and prepared for natural disasters and severe weather events.
Highlights of the event included a preparedness performance by a group called Drama in Rural Towns and opportunities for people to share knowledge and experiences unique to the Richmond Valley.
There were also displays from organisations such as State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue, Police, Casino Hospital, local lands services and Rural Adversity Mental Health.
Casino Red Cross has been presented with the top prize in the community division of the prestigious Resilient Australia Awards.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the awards were a national program to recognise and promote initiatives which strengthened community disaster resilience.
"The Casino Red Cross won for its development of the Get in the Know emergency services forum," he said.
"Their project, which included a school focus, helped to raise community awareness of disaster risks and how to prepare better for emergencies.
"This is a big deal and well-deserved recognition for our local hero volunteers."
Maureen oversees a team of 11 Red Cross volunteers in Casino.
"They're for personal support. If there's an emergency, their role is to offer cups of tea and talk to people and link them to the services they need," she said.
"It's a hospitality role to look after the needs of the people. It's a very worthwhile job to do."
Maureen said the forum Get in the Know for emergency services would be held again next year.
"It was very much an awareness-raising event," she said.
"There's a big emphasis now on getting prepared yourself so, if people have their own plan, their own survival kit, that helps enormously."
Maureen says Red Cross is a very humanitarian organisation.
"I love the code of conduct of Red Cross and the principles," she said.
"There's no judgment, people are helped when there's a need."
For more information, visit www.redcross.org.au.