ACT First is an exciting project which will encourage residents of the ACT and surrounding suburbs to prepare for severe weather events.
This digital project is incredibly important as population density is increasing and the severity and frequency of storms, floods, cyclones and bushfires is continuing to grow. As the 'Building our Nation's Resilience to Natural Disasters' report forecasts, the cost of natural disasters in Australia will rise from $6.3 billion a year to around $23 billion a year in 2050.
This resilience project will create empowered communities who are aware of their risks and are better prepared to respond to - and survive - severe weather events or natural disasters.
This fun, interactive site will present users with the natural disaster history for their region. It will also share advice on how to be prepared for future severe weather events in their area.
Why does the ACT need a disaster and community resilience site?
Through a clever, interactive journey users are encouraged to create their own personalised plan, focused on how they can prepare for severe weather events. These plans will inspire residents to take practical action, such as clearing gutters or liaising with their community to check on elderly neighbors in the event of a disaster. This way, users will be prepared for severe weather events.
After the tragic 2003 Canberra bushfires and the McLeod Inquiry that followed, the ACT Goverment established the Emergencies Act 2004 which provided the legislative basis for a series of reforms and investments in disaster resilience. The response was strategic and integrating - so much so that Canberra has been recognised as an international role model in disaster resilience by the United Nations International Strategy on Disaster Reduction.
The ACT Government has integrated its disaster management online sources into the ESA website which is a "Single Point of Truth" for emergency information, advice and warning matters in the ACT.
The ACT First site offers fun, interactive community resources to empower ACT residents to prepare for natural disasters and will be tightly integrated into the existing emergency preparedness and management ecosystem of the ACT, in particular, the ACT's Emergency Services Agency website.
ACT residents have the highest level of tertiary education in Australia, given the strong prevalence of scientific research, tertiary education and public service employment in Canberra. Education is one thing - practical action and self-reliance is another. The ACT First project aims to empower these ACT communities to become more self-reliant and resilient.
Tracking actions, not intentions
ACT First will track the number of preparedness actions taken across the ACT, creating an incentive for people to get involved. The site will feature an involvement map, showing the location and number of users who have already taken action and developed their own plans. This will motivate residents to take their own actions to be prepared and get on the map!
This digital journey is incredibly important for our whole nation. As the 'Building our Nation's Resilience to Natural Disasters' report explained, spending one dollar on prevention now can save up to eight dollars on recovery spend later.
Green Cross Australia is confident that ACT residents will embrace ACT First with gusto. Supported by a world class ACT emergency management system, this initaitive will take community-grounded disaster resilience to a new level in Australia.