The Community First Responders Program: That, to better coordinate community efforts to save life and property during a disaster, Government create a ‘Community First Responders Program’, funding appropriate community equipment and training, particularly in high-risk catchments along the east coast of NSW. This training would be delivered by combat and/or other appropriate government agencies. This program could support and empower community led initiatives such as disaster response, evacuation centres and the provision of services such as psychological first aid.
To plan for volunteerism into the future, the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) commission a review of volunteerism in NSW, acknowledging it is essential to the state’s emergency response to protect life and property. This review needs to recommend a way forward for emergency volunteer agencies to respond to declining formal volunteerism and to make better use of Community First Responders.
Further, to ensure Indigenous communities are included in emergency planning and preparation, emergency management processes incorporate the needs of Indigenous communities including for evacuation procedures and centres by:
• developing an Indigenous first responders program working with Aboriginal communities in flood affected regions to understand what is needed, and resourcing this program appropriately, and
• ensuring Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLO) form part of the Local Emergency Management Committees and are present at evacuation centres during a disaster to better serve Indigenous communities.

Recommendation 6