The Central Coast SES Unit, based in Ulverstone, decided to hold an open day to educate the public as to what SES does and the type of skills SES members are trained in.
It was also an opportunity for units that do not have a ‘public face’ to showcase their work and create possible recruitment opportunities. This included the Incident Management Unit (IMU) and Search and Rescue (SAR).
During the planning stage we communicated with these other units about getting involved. Planning involved a lot of communication with regional staff and other member units to make sure we were working within SES policies because this was the first of its kind for SES in our region.
The open day was held in May with messages about preparing for floods in the lead-up to winter. SES has some educational and promotional resources that we used, such as home emergency plans, flood and storm factsheets, flood jars, pens, stickers, magnets and wristbands as well as Paddy Platypus and the kids’ activity books.
We approached the Ulverstone APEX club, who were happy to run a BBQ on site. We also ran a social media campaign which in the end reached over 2,000 people.
The day’s activities included:
Overall, the open day was a great success; we gained a large amount of exposure in our local community. We estimate around 50 to 60 members of the public attended the day, including our municipal Mayor.
After the open day we identified some things we would do differently next time. We will review the engagement material for Road Crash Rescue demonstrations and involve other emergency services for larger demonstrations.
It is important to reach more people, so next time we will arrange more media coverage by getting a local radio station on board, and consider other venues such as the local park on the waterfront to provide a more public presence.
We also realised there is a need for more emphasis on community engagement across the organisation and for an appropriate resource framework to be developed. We plan to work with regional staff and other parts of SES to develop a Community Engagement Planning Framework for future events.
Central Coast SES Unit