Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood preparedness campaign wins national award
Infrastructure NSW, Resilience NSW and the NSW State Emergency Service have together won the national Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) award for ‘Excellence in Readiness & Resilience’.
The annual EMPA Awards for Excellence in Emergency Communication have been established to recognise those who have made a significant contribution to emergency communications in Australia and New Zealand.
The Excellence in Readiness & Resilience award was won for ‘Floods. What’s your plan?’ – a campaign delivered from October to December 2021 targeting residents of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. The campaign encouraged community members to know the early signs of potential flooding and have a plan in place to respond, using channels including social media, radio and print advertising to get the message out.
The three key practical actions encouraging the local community to be prepared were:
- Know how to get flood warnings and to be weather aware
- Know how to get out and where to go
- Know how to prepare an emergency get ready to go kit
The objective was to normalise preparation and make the key steps accessible – showing people and NSW SES volunteers explaining the benefits of preparation and easy steps to take.
This valley has the highest unmitigated flood risk exposure in Australia related to its unique landscape and large existing population. Floodwaters in the valley can be extensive and much deeper than most other floodplains in Australia, and have a significant impact on lives, livelihoods, homes and critical infrastructure. It is important in this valley for people to be prepared for floods due to the short amount of time people may have to evacuate safely.
Carlene York, the NSW SES Commissioner said that: “Due to the Bureau of Meteorology’s long-range weather forecast and the La Nina weather pattern, along with Sydney’s reservoirs at near-full capacity, we knew there was an increased risk of flooding for Spring/Summer 2021-22. Therefore, it was timely we delivered this campaign prior to the most recent flood event.”
Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner of Resilience NSW said: “It’s an honour to receive this award alongside Infrastructure NSW and the NSW State Emergency Service. Collectively it is our role to help communities prepare for the future. This award acknowledges the importance of preparing for potential flooding and other disasters.”
This campaign built upon another awareness campaign delivered over 2019 and 2020 by Infrastructure NSW, NSW SES and Resilience NSW, around understanding flood risk: ‘Floods. The Risk is Real’. In 2021, the next phase of flood readiness for communities was to build on this initial campaign, and shift messaging to focus on actions to prepare for a future flood.
These campaigns are delivered under the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy, coordinated by Infrastructure NSW.
You can find out more information about the EMPA Awards.
For more information about how to prepare, visit SES NSW.