Expo helps prepare for disasters

Cass Norton, Kylie Kleinig, Zoe Lewis and Jacqui Nuske spoke at the Resilience Expo. PHOTO: CHARLOTTE MARTIN 366492_01

A Community Resilience Roadshow came to Port Lincoln last week to educate residents on being disaster ready.

Country Fire Service (CFS) community engagement officer Kylie Kleinig opened the show at the Port Lincoln Hotel on Monday with a key message to the audience being to make your decisions early when disaster strikes.

Ms Kleinig said the CFS was available to educate people on fire preparedness through small and large workshops that provide tools on how to prepare properly in case of bushfire danger.

“It’s about having a bushfire plan in place,” she said.

“Will you stay, will you leave, what is your contingency plan? What is your plan if you cannot leave the property?”

Ms Kleinig said it was important to remember that cities like Port Lincoln can still be affected, not just rural areas, with the Stamford Drive fire earlier this year a prime example.

“BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) and Alert SA are vital for early interventions,” she said.

Groups can contact their local CFS to have a bushfire ready seminar held for them to help you learn what your bushfire risk is, how to best prepare your specific home or area and create a five-minute action plan.

Jacqui Nuske, a program coordinator from the Disaster Legal Support Program, spoke about disaster ready insurance, another presentation that can be delivered to community groups at their request.

The program does referrals for legal and non legal services that are related to disaster insurance protection.

Ms Nuske said an insurance policy is a legal contract – both the person and the insurance company have rights and responsibilities, especially after a disaster.

She said insurance companies had to be treated with respect and transparency and as their client, the person did not have to accept the offers provided.

“It’s important to note the definitions in your insurance, for example it may say you’re covered for bushfire, which will include flame but possibly not smoke damage,” Ms Nuske said.

“Livestock can also have very different definitions.”

Ms Nuske said customers should look at additional benefits, for example temporary accommodation in case of bushfires, this can be on top of your sum insured. So can debris removal.

She said your sum insured amount is the maximum, not the guaranteed, amount payable.

Ms Nuske said some handy tips for covering yourself when insuring were to assess your property value and the cost to replace it, record that, take videos and make notes, have an electronic file and save it. Do that every year at your renewal date.

“If in doubt, ask questions, seek advice and remember complaints can be lodged with AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority),” she said.

Zoe Lewis from Westside Community Lawyers spoke about will kits and the importance of having power of attorney in place for worst case scenarios.

Cass Norton from NBN Co spoke about their plans to expand the fibre and satellite networks.

NBN is going to extend their fixed wireless range, improve NBN fixed wireless and faster speeds in the busy times at 9pm.

Satellite service is going to be able to have unlimited data, helpful for people living remote who cannot get fibre.

A tip from Ms Norton was to go to the NBN website, where there is a list of all the providers in your area. The takeaway is, the more coverage residents have during a crisis the better connected residents can be.

For more information on bushfire readiness go to cfs.sa.gov.au