January 14 2011 is etched in Carisbrook history because over 250 homes were flooded and most of the township was evacuated. It was an event that many said we would never see again in our lifetime.
Fast forward to September 14 and October 3 2016 and again Carisbrook was under the threat of flood. The difference, on September 15, was that Tullaroop Reservoir was not full and, on both occasions, there was no overland flow impacting the township. On October 3, Tullaroop Reservoir was over 100% capacity and flowing 2.58 metres over its outlet, at its peak.
Lessons had been learnt since 2011 and measures put in place which had not been available before. As was the case in 2011, Carisbrook Fire Station and Brigade was the hub of operations. The cooperation between emergency services CFA, SES, Police and Local Council was first rate with local knowledge and previous experience a key factor.
The previous 12 months had also seen residents mailed information packs and a fridge magnet putting into place a Community Warning System for emergencies which utilises the fire siren to alert residents. This was used to great effect on September 14 but this option was not available in 2011 as the siren was un-operational and waiting repair.
Once again the community and neighbouring brigades pulled together with sandbagging efforts. Carisbrook and Maryborough Brigades doorknocked residents to inform them of the situation in the affected areas and Talbot Fire Brigade was vital in feeding information on water levels at Talbot to the local LCF as this water would impact on Carisbrook later that day. The local LCF was set up and worked well and the ICC in Bendigo was feeding information on water levels back to the LCF and local Brigade, something which we did not have in 2011.
A community debrief and meeting was held after the September 14 event with all relevant authorities present. The concerns raised and questions answered had vastly improved on 2011. One downside was the misreporting of flood events on Social Media. This only caused panic and concern to already spooked locals. We need to make sure if we post something on Social Media that it is accurate and factual, not just hear say.
Story by Carisbrook Captain Ian Bouchier
Author: District 2 News