Victoria Police has the delegated responsibility for communications. This is in accordance with the EMMV which identifies the Victoria Police as the primary support agency for communications.
All agencies having a role in these arrangements are responsible for the provision of their own communications systems during emergencies. Any agency requiring communications will put their request to the MERC.
During an emergency effective communication between the MECC, emergency services and emergency relief centres (if required) is vital. For detailed arrangements refer to the Emergency Relief Centre Standard Operation Guidelines. The TRIM reference number can be found in Appendix 1 – MEMP Sub Plans, Related Procedures and Operating Guidelines
In most instances Council will be the first point of contact. The demand for information will dictate what level of resourcing is required. If deemed appropriate, a community call centre will be established to facilitate the delivery of accurate and important information, reducing the demand on Council’s normal customer services and relieving pressure on the MECC.
Telecommunication network providers will be the initial and primary means of communication in the event of an emergency and should be utilised to capacity where possible. When identifying locations for use as Emergency Coordination Centres, Assembly Areas and Emergency Relief Centres, consideration should be given to the communications facilities already in place at that location.
Additional telephones can be provided by Telstra, upon request to the MERC, who will, in turn, submit such requests to the Regional Emergency Response Coordinator for action. All costs, related to such installations, are the responsibility of the requesting organisation. The DISPLAN and internal telephone systems will be the primary means of communications for the MECC. Mobile phones and/or handheld radios may be used by field staff.
The following organisations have communications facilities and resources which may be available in an emergency:
Council operates a two way radio system. This consists of a base station at the Colac depot and vehicle mounted radios.
The Wireless Institute of Australia Civil Engineering Network (WICEN) is an organisation consisting mainly of Amateur Radio enthusiasts who provide communications to emergency response agencies in times of need.
WICEN is a non-government volunteer-based organisation. It operates under the respective State Disaster Plans within each of Australia's States and Territories. In Victoria, WICEN is listed as an emergency response unit under the emergency response plan and may be able to provide additional emergency communications facilities. Activation is through the Regional Emergency Response Coordinator. For further information refer to http://www.vic.wicen.org.au
5.15 Community Awareness Information and Warnings