Redland City Council is extending its Community Champions Program to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) following the success of the program on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI).
Mayor Karen Williams said Council was seeking expressions of interest from North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) volunteers interested in training in aspects of disaster management.
“The Community Champions Program trains residents to support their community in times of emergency and how to work with the wider Redland Local Disaster Management Group,” she said.
“The SMBI Community Champions Program has shown how successful it can be when local knowledge and connections become part of the emergency response.
“This is particularly important for our island communities, who at times are isolated from the mainland.”
Marie Dalton has been a Community Champion on Russell Island since 2017, a year after a large grassfire threatened about 60 homes on the island.
“During that fire no-one knew where the evacuation centre was or where to go,” Mrs Dalton said.
“If there is a fire on the islands it can take two hours for help to arrive but, as trained Community Champions, we can get an evacuation centre set up and operational without outside help.
“I like helping the community and would encourage North Stradbroke Island residents to join the program. Becoming a Champion means you get to know your community more, and you become self-sufficient.
“Because of the training we receive, we’re also able to volunteer to help in other areas as needed. I’ve been deployed to help in Townsville, in Caboolture during the recent flooding as well as to Straddie twice to open up an evacuation centre during fires.”
Under the new Minjerribah Community Champions Program, residents not currently serving as emergency volunteers will receive comprehensive training to:
- Contribute their local knowledge of North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) to assist in all aspects of disaster management;
- Provide education to the community about how to prepare for a disaster;
- Respond during an emergency by setting up and operating evacuation centres; and
- Assist with community recovery following a disaster and help build community resilience to disasters.
Community Champions volunteers receive training in psychological first aid, and evacuation and volunteer management, becoming registered volunteers with Council, Australian Red Cross and Volunteering Queensland.
Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell said the program was a win-win for everyone involved.
“The community gains new trained resources and our emergency services gain local connections,” Cr Mitchell said.
“The Champions themselves receive training that they can put on their resume, as well as the satisfaction that comes from making a meaningful contribution to the safety of their island family, friends and neighbours.”
To become a Minjerribah Community Champion, you must be an island resident, over 18 years and available to complete training during business hours where required.
To register your interest phone 3829 8999 or email [email protected]