Ready2Go – responding to heatwaves

Ready2Go is a community-led Heatwave relocation program which operates from Cockatoo in Victoria and was born out of a recognized need within the community to assist vulnerable people during heatwaves or other emergencies.
This need was identified during discussions between Cockatoo Township Committee and the community of Cockatoo after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and the preceding heatwave.
Ready2Go provides an off-mountain option for people using volunteer drivers. A successful pilot program during the summer season of 2013–2014 enabled Echo Youth and Family Services (Echo) to seek funding from Gandel Foundation for a wider program, which has the potential to provide a great resource for many other Victorian communities who face similar concerns. The aim of the program is to reduce the potentially fatal impact of heat by providing a means of transportation and early relocation for those who are isolated at home without a car in periods of predicted or forecast heatwave, storm and high bushfire danger.
Sue Wales pic Echo
Sue Wales (pictured) was the initial lead volunteer in 2013–14 and has again taken on this role for the coming summer. She has been involved since the program’s inception with initial meetings in 2011. Sue stated she was “inspired to join the Ready2Go program because the discussion at Cockatoo Township Committee meetings indicated some people felt at risk but it was clear that they would require support to be able to leave the area during periods of heatwave or high fire danger”. The Township of Cockatoo was devastated in the fires of Ash Wednesday and has a long and intimate understanding of how life-threatening emergencies can impact townships and individuals, particularly the more vulnerable members of the community.
Sue added that “ Ready2Go really gives you a sense of making a difference in our local community. It’s also been really valuable to have a regular reminder about the need to prepare mentally and physically for summer conditions.”
The Ready2Go Program is supported by a range of key partnerships including Monash Health, Red Cross, Shire of Cardinia, CFA and Echo Youth & Family Services. Echo’s relocation partnerships with Living Learning Pakenham, Meadowvale Retirement Village, St Patricks Parish and the Berwick and Beaconsfield Pet resort mean that they have a great selection of solutions for participants and their pets.
Thanks to the support provided by Gandel Foundation, Echo is now able to develop a wider community-based model of the program, after it has been extensively trialled and evaluated, and proven to have the potential to make a meaningful difference to vulnerable people living in high risk areas. Echo believes the model is readily transferable and can be adapted to different conditions.
For further information or to enquire about how Ready2Go Heatwave relocation program could be implemented in your community email or phone Echo’s project worker Fiona on (03) 59 684 460.