• Brett Ellis

Planning for a Hot COVID Summer?

As Australia steps closer to the summer season, the question arises “How do we respond to high bushfire risk days during a pandemic?” In Victoria our normal messaging of “leave early” becomes more complicated under a scenario of a third wave lockdown.

If we were to see extended days of high temperatures, fanning large fires, stressing urban power systems, then the challenges become more complex as multiple emergencies interact. Each with their own challenges and seperate community messaging.

As we push into this summer the possibility of heatwave, bushfire, blackouts & pandemic all converging looks ever so likely. The real question is probably not if or when, it is probably a case of where and at what level of complexity?

Our standard community messaging is complicated at the best of times. Under this scenario the messaging competes and, in some cases, contradicts itself.

To have any chance of providing clear guidance and planning in place for communities, foresight modelling and scenario planning to test systems and identify secondary and tertiary consequences is required across state, regional and municipal levels.

One of the biggest challenges we face is most of our emergency management planning capacity is weary, drained after a horrid 2019/20. Do they have the energy and do the State, regions and municipalities have capacity to do the extra work to ensure a well prepared society?

Time is ticking. We cannot expect a 12th hour bombardment of messaging and actions to filter through the noise and chaos and expect that to succeed across diverse social, geographical and cultural communities. It never has worked in the past. So, what are your plans? How are you preparing for a hot COVID summer?

Brett Ellis


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