Managing for Flood, Fire and Famine in the Blink of an Eye

It’s never a dull moment running a local government. In the last two weeks, I have dealt with flooding, commenced preparing for the expected increase in bushfires this coming summer and attended Western Australia’s (WA) premier agricultural event.

Last week we had extensive flooding across the shire. The lady in the car that was washed away, as seen above, was lucky to survive. The photo is courtesy of my Community Emergency Safety Manager, who had control of the scene. My work crews were then busily managing flood locations across 2,000 km of road network.

Community resilience is increasingly important on the back of an ever changing natural environment: there is increased flooding, but water shortages, extreme fire events due to warmer weather and increased fire loads and bizarrely enough for us, increased agricultural output despite drought and extreme weather events.

Getting ready for the Local Emergency Management Committee meeting. The level of expertise on this committee is amazing. The lady to the front had responsibility for the State’s COVID hotels.
This week, was about preparing for the up and coming bushfire season. These are our main display and incident screens in the incident room, used in an emergency
The screens in our incident control centre allow us to track any fire incident in Western Australia (WA) in real time.

I recently authorised the installation of satellite communication equipment in our emergency services vehicles. We will be able to take command/provide support while mobile without needing to use a static environment (ie room or building, except for large scale events).

My community emergency safety manager and safety officer busily doing what they need to do. In short, the incident room is now ready for me to be part of the incident support group (command team – shire, police, emergency services) during major hazards/incidents whether fire, flood or otherwise
Image was taken Wednesday morning, courtesy of the Dowerin Field Day

The Dowerin Field Day is the largest farming event in the Southern Hemisphere. I was fortunate to be invited to this year’s launch: Bringing Dowerin Down Town. The bottom line – Australia’s agricultural output is currently $60B+. On the back of WA’s harvest this year, and sadly because of a lack of output from the Black Sea region, Australia’s farm gate output value will rise to $80B. The National Farmers Federation’s target is $100B by 2030, which means this target is well and truly within reach, and far sooner than expected.

That being said, we haven’t had wide spread locust plagues in WA for nearly 20 years – the type where, despite installing protective mesh to protect a car’s front grill, will see you spend hours extracting 100s of the baked on critters from intakes and where no amount of cleaning gets them off the car’s paintwork!

13 Comments on “Managing for Flood, Fire and Famine in the Blink of an Eye”

  1. Sean – very interesting post. You have your hands full with potential weather issues but I have total faith that you are the man for the job. Love that you had better communication technology installed.

    As for The Dowerin Field Day – it is massive for sure and I found the awards quite interesting. I also would love to meet Betty, the Australian Draught horse, hang out at the Wheatbelt Songwriter’s Showcase and watch the sheepdog trials. Great stuff there and the brochure was a job well done. I hope it was a smashing success!

    P.S. thank you for not posting a photo of a locust…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Rita, thank you – we have mapped out a plan now re flood water hotspots, so I’m quite pleased about that. In terms of fire fighting, we have upped the anti there as well.

      The Dowerin Field Day is a very special event and it went very well. Yes, I can watch sheep dog trials all day long. The same with log chopping events too 😆

      It has rained again this year at the right time, so it is going to be another bumper harvest – about 10% of the world’s total production 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello SurePaw,

        Remember 1982 at Tommy More when you & I shared a Time magazine subscription. Not only were we the envy of the Seniors, our 35 cents a week share to ensure personal delivery actually broke the gripping stories of the turbulent geopolitical times.

        Nowadays, BLOGS like yours help to stitch us together by combining threads of community and events that traverse our geographical tyranny (to paraphrase our erstwhile Prof. Geoffrey).

        Dowerin 2016 was an eye opener for me & my agency. Stuck in the boondocks on Eastern flank adjacent to TransafeWA’s on-loan Safety Truck, we were re-entering the fray of AgChem and the rural community. Many happy memories of Newdegate, Mingenew & Albany field days too.

        Can vouch for the bumper season unfolding across Northern Wheat/Canola Belt since travelling through your shire recently. Big shout out to Taylor’s Kitchen who provided after-hours sustenance when Bindoon Bakehaus pulled up stumps 😎

        Keep ripping those Offies, Seano, and let’s give that Indoor Cricket venue of yours a workout this Spring 🏏

        Cheers, Lois

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cheers Stevo

        Thank you for your very thoughtful words. Imagine receiving a hard copy of Time in today’s world. We had time to enjoy it, to digest it and to reflect on it. That’s not the case now. I spend my life unsubscribing to electronic versions of all sorts of publications, which were subscribed to by my predecessors with good intentions, but you never get the time to read most of it.

        Even with today’s rains, the farmers are continuing to go cha ching! And who can blame them? We are moving out so many truckloads of grain up here at the minute, the same as everywhere else. CBH is still 500 jobs short for the coming harvest.

        Hmmm… Taylor’s Kitchen, I will have to check it out. Yes, my spinning fingers are just fine, it’s the rest of me that’s an issue 😂🤣😂


      • Mate, the GOAT has nothing on you…. However, when it comes to my neck nerve compression, I reckon I need to spend one of your happy cropping farmers Rain Cheques!!
        Cheers, LOTU

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. Almost every day, I hear a weather disaster somewhere. It is insane. And I often wonder what I am going to do if disaster strikes. And it is so nice of you to be there to help others. I mean I haven’t thought about emergency management, but I think it is definitely very very necessary right now. I mean the weather is like a crazy lunatic right now. One doesn’t know what is going to be its next crazy move.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comments. We have eight hazards to manage for, but three of these are constantly on the radar: fire, flood, biohazards. The others include things like earth quakes, cyclones.

      We are monitoring the weather every day. We are going into year three re El Nina weather patterns, so after two years we now have an idea what to expect. However, executing an effective response is always the issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, eight hazards… I guess the pandemic is not even one of them. Well, keep up with the good work. I have heard of the word El Nina so often, but I never know what it really means. I guess it means crazy weather. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

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