By Peter Douglas

It can become easy to be complacent about preparing for natural disasters.
But the local Macclesfield Disaster Recovery Committee (MDRG) has got it covered.
The group’s efforts in ensuring its community is as prepared as possible have won them a Highly Commended Award in the Community category of the Victorian 2017 Resilient Australia Awards.
Now in its 18th year, the awards program recognises and promotes initiatives that strengthen community disaster resilience nationally.
MDRG is made up of a core leadership group of 13 volunteers and a broader membership base of over 50.
MDRG co-ordinator Yolanda Slykerman said the award reflected the group’s dedication since beginning in 2013.
“We are thrilled to receive this award,” she said.
“It’s a great testament to our dedicated group of volunteers and their achievements over the past four years in working to make our community safer, stronger and better-prepared to manage a natural disaster.”
The group’s purpose is to manage the needs of the Macclesfield community during the first 72 hours of a serious event, such as bushfire or flood.
They also provide a conduit to government and external agencies, should relief and recovery support be required.
In addition to developing a detailed procedures manual, Yolanda said they’d raised awareness of the devastating impact that disasters could have at local level.
The group has also built relationships with local and state stakeholders and upskilled members through targeted training.
“People like to live in places like Macclesfield for the beauty and serenity but don’t necessarily like to think about the consequences of a disaster,” she said.
“However, not to plan for such a scenario would leave our community vulnerable and significantly increase the potential for loss of life and physical assets.”
The MDRG meets on the first Tuesday of each month.
To find out more, email accounts@fluidmotion.com.au.

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