Blog by Tal Fitzpatrick, Leadership Coordinator

As part of Volunteering Queensland’s Step Up Program, I have been coordinating the Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project (NDRLP) since March 2011. Over the past three years, I have been lucky enough to deliver this project to over 200 community leaders in many different locations including 12 council areas across Queensland and many others interstate and beyond.

Technology plays a huge role in our Emergency Volunteering CREW service, allowing us to register and match volunteers and organisations efficiently.

The Sydney Morning Herald has published a great article featuring our very own Julie Molloy – Director, Social Engagement. Julie explains how an upgrade of our volunteer management systems has resulted in a much better experience for staff, volunteers and organisations alike when disaster hits. It has also allowed a huge improvement in volunteer matching capability, to ensure volunteers with particular skills and experience can be best utilised by disaster response organisations.

The importance of resilient communities cannot be overstated when it comes to recovering and bouncing forward following a natural disaster.

Resilient communities also depend on the strength of the people living within them. The American Psychological Association recently published ’10 tips to build resilience’, suggesting ways we can all work on building resilient communities by starting with ourselves.

We all know how great social media is for spreading important information during disasters and emergencies, but did you know just how much work goes on before one little Tweet or Facebook post is sent? Or how your posts and photos could be helping disaster management authorities without you knowing?

Social media platform Twitter has launched its new Twitter Alerts system in Australia, dedicated to ensuring critical emergency information is given priority during disasters and emergency situations.

Many emergency organisations already use Twitter as a way of spreading warnings and updates during emergencies, and this service will ensure important information is delivered immediately to followers.

With parts of Australia experiencing extreme temperatures this week, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of heat-related illnesses and how to avoid them.

Babies, young children, pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk but anyone can be affected. Common symptoms of heat-related illness include sunburn, tiredness, cramps, headache, dizziness and nausea. Look out for these signs for yourself and your family, and seek medical advice if necessary.

Most Australians grow up with the awareness of the deadly impact of natural disaster.

For those who move here from vastly different environments, it is a different story. A new Queensland study is asking the question: how do migrants cope with Australia’s natural disasters?

It is not only essential for people to be prepared for potential emergencies, but our beloved pets are also vulnerable in natural disasters. Here are some important tips to help protect your pets in the event of an emergency.

Blog by Tal Fitzpatrick, Resilience Leadership Project Coordinator 

On a very hot Friday morning (in the lead up to Resilience Week) I set out from the Gold Coast heading west in order to deliver a disaster ‘get-ready’ workshop to a group of 25 year 8 and 9 students from Allora State School.

Blog by Tal Fitzpatrick, Resilience Leadership Project Coordinator 

As the coordinator of the Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project it has been my job over the past two and a half years to bring together community leaders from across various sectors in order to explore their role in building community resilience. After delivering this project in over 13 locations around the state as well as presenting about it both interstate and internationally my key lesson from this work is that in order to encourage and enable successful collaboration, particularly across sectors, it is critical that someone helps to facilitate this process. The following is a short exploration of my learnings, including a brief reflection on my experience facilitating collaboration in the disaster resilience space as a young woman.

Investment in arts and cultural-related projects is a therapeutic way in which disaster-affected communities are being supported during recovery processes. It is widely believed involvement with the arts can help those dealing with trauma by providing them with a different, creative outlet for their emotions and experiences. Research has also shown inclusion of creative outlets during a recovery period can be more beneficial for children than being counselled by a therapist

One of the easiest and possibly most effective ways of promoting community resilience is as simple as getting to know your neighbours!

An ongoing UQ study into community resilience in the wake of the Queensland floods has shown that during a disaster, breaking news and situation updates are often heard first from neighbours. Residents of flooded streets in Ipswich reported there is a stronger sense of ‘neighbourliness’ in the area following the flood recovery effort.