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Climate change a hot topic
CFA and Emergency Management Victoria have teamed up to host an industry forum on climate change and associated natural disasters.
Around 100 people from across the emergency management sector gathered at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne today (14 July) to discuss future challenges posed by climate variation.
Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett officially opened the Climate Change Forum, the first of its kind for the state.
The event was streamed live and can be viewed on the CFA Livestream Channel.
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather is impacting on the volume and intensity of emergencies we experience in Victoria.
“Preparing and responding to these significant events requires a real shift in our approach. Our traditional response to emergencies won’t always be a match for their catastrophic impact,” he said.
“Scientific research shows Victoria’s climate is changing, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events and natural disasters, such as drought and bushfire.”
“Many Victorians have experienced first-hand the devastation these disasters can bring, with the loss of loved ones, homes and livelihoods.
“It’s our responsibility as an emergency service provider to adapt to any challenges to our role as a protector of life and property, and to help Victorians plan, prepare and recover when disaster strikes.”
The strengthening 2015 El Nino is likely to mean many parts of Victoria will experience an increased bushfire risk due to higher temperatures and drier conditions.
The Australian Department of Environment estimates that by 2070 the average number of days experienced each year above 35 degrees will increase from nine to 26 in Melbourne. While Mildura, in the state’s far north-west, is predicted to see that average increase from 32 to 76 days.
Today’s forum was the first collaborative discussion aimed at better preparing the emergency services sector for the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change.
The Minister also used the event to launch a three-year Emergency Management Strategic Action Plan.
The plan will help guide Victoria’s future response and resilience to all hazards.