Council response to an emergency
Depending on the severity of the emergency and the response required, Victoria Police will direct Mitchell Shire Council to open and set up the Municipal Emergency Coordination Centre (MECC). The MECC is where Council's emergency resources are managed.
The location of a significant emergency may mean that residents are unable to return to their homes for a period of time. Based on local need, Council may then open a Relief Centre in a suitable location.
The function of a Relief Centre is to provide immediate support to people affected by the emergency, and may include food, shelter and registration, and act as a community meeting place. Relief Centres are opened in safe locations after all details of the specific emergency situation are known.
What is a MECC?
The Municipal Emergency Coordination Centre (MECC) is the Council-managed facility for the coordination of additional resources as required by the response agencies during the emergency. It is set up in Mitchell Shire Council's Broadford Offices. The person in control of the MECC is the Municipal Emergency Response Coordinator (MERC). This role is undertaken by the Officer in Charge of the Seymour Police Station or Deputy.
The MERC is responsible for planning at a local level to ensure the response is appropriate and that all emergency support agencies are coping with the demand. Representatives from Victoria Police, CFA, SES, Ambulance Victoria and relevant Shire staff are in attendance in the MECC and have clearly defined roles. The MECC is responsible for the provision of human and material resources within the Shire, or if required may be set up to assist a neighbouring municipality.
What are relief centres?
Relief Centre provides support and essential needs to persons affected by an emergency. They are established on a short term basis where there is a need to provide food, shelter, registration, blankets and associated emergency assistance for any given emergency. Relief centres are not ideal for pets and livestock, and as you may be separated from them if you bring them, it is best that you include alternatives for your animals when planning for an emergency.
The location of a relief centre is only advertised to the community after all details of the emergency situation are known. Location details will be broadcast in a variety of ways, such as on 621 and 774 ABC AM radio, the Mitchell Shire Council Home Page, the Department of Human Services website or residents can call our customer service representatives on 5734 6200 for more details.
The Red Cross provides a vital service in registering all those who report to a Relief Centre. They are also a valuable resource in providing food and other support as required. Where possible, the community is encouraged in the first instance to seek accommodation with family and friends, as this may be a better option during an emergency.
What is a MERO?
The Municipal Emergency Resource Office (MERO) is a Council staff member responsible for the coordination and provision of municipal resources (earth moving equipment, water tankers, other equipment) and as a liaison with agencies within the municipality to provide whatever resources are required to successfully combat the emergency at hand. The MERO will be situated in the MECC during an emergency.
What is an MRM?
The Municipal Recovery Manager (MRM) coordinates community resources during an emergency such as the provision of Relief Centres, liaising with various government and voluntary support agencies to provide services during the emergency event and working with effected communities. The MRM also ensures that post–event support and assistance is provided to help residents restore their lives to as normal as possible.