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As the onslaught of the Victorian floods continues, many aged care and residential homes are reminded of the importance of pre-planning for natural disasters.

Many towns have been evacuated due to rising flood waters in Rochester and surrounding areas of regional Victoria. [VIC SES Twitter]

The last few weeks of incessant rain has caused havoc across Victoria.

Over 64 aged care residents in Rochester, Victoria, have been evacuated to safety and housed across the community thanks to proficient pre-planning. However, not all aged care facilities have learnt from the 2011 floods.

The head of leading in-home, assisted mobility and community services not-for-profit organisation, LINK Community & Transport (LINK), Dr Danny Davis, is urging the aged care sector to take initiative and develop new, proactive strategies in anticipation of natural disasters, not scrambling to fix the repercussions of waiting until it’s too late.

“We should be in a better position to be able to assist older Victorians well before the disaster happens and relocate them to a safe place where all their essential needs can be met,” says Davis.

Manned with accredited drivers and volunteer helpers, Davis says he would like to have his fleet of 60 accessible vehicles to play a pivotal role for short-notice evacuations.

“In recent weeks, we have seen the SES and emergency services work tirelessly in relocating older people from their flooded homes,” Davis says.

“We should be pre-prepared and take the initiative; if there is going to be an evacuation, the most vulnerable people should go first. We don’t want to see pictures of terrified mobility-impaired residents being rescued by boat or fire-rescue.”

A detailed strategic plan, Davis adds, would be needed to cater to the various living conditions of elders engaged in the federal aged care system.

“We would need to work with residential aged care facilities, who should have a disaster preparedness plan; they should know their residents and where they would need to go in an emergency.  

Davis continues to mark LINK’s intentions to help create and implement these necessary strategies for aged cares across Victoria:

“LINK is reaching out to join forces with like-minded organisations to create a more strategic, co-ordinated and proactive approach, increasing Victoria’s emergency preparedness through supports for older and disabled Victorians who are increasingly facing climate emergency challenges.”

For current emergency information, call the SES Flood Information Line on 1300 842 737 (1300 VIC SES). For flood or storm assistance, call 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies, call 000. To contact Lifeline, click here or call 13 11 14.