Green Cross Australia is a not for profit organisation who deliver digital projects that help people in practical ways adapt to our changing climate, embrace sustainable living and build resilient communities. Find out about our other projects…greencrossaustralia.org
ACT First helps to create empowered communities who are aware of their risks and are better prepared to respond to - and survive - severe weather events or natural disasters.
The website is an easy to use, personalised online resource to help residents of the Australian Capital Territory prepare for natural disasters. It aims to boost readiness and resilience with customised preparedness information for each user. ACT First has been developed by Green Cross Australia with a partnership with the ACT Government and support from the Australia National University; it is funded by the Natural Disaster Resilience Program.
Why does the ACT need a disaster and community resilience site?
Population density in the ACT is increasing and the severity and frequency of extreme weather events are projected to grow, making ACT First an incredibly important tool. As the 'Building our Nation's Resilience to Natural Disasters' report forecasts, the cost of natural disasters in Australia will rise from $6.3 billion a year to around $23 billion a year in 2050.
Through an interactive journey, users are encouraged to create their own personalised plan, focused on how they can prepare for severe weather events. These plans will inspire residents to take practical action, such as clearing gutters or liaising with their community to check on elderly neighbours in the event of a disaster. This way, users will be prepared for severe weather events.
After the tragic 2003 Canberra bushfires and the McLeod Inquiry that followed, the ACT Government established the Emergencies Act 2004 which provided the legislative basis for a series of reforms and investments in disaster resilience. The response was strategic and integrated - so much so that Canberra has been recognised as an international role model in disaster resilience by the United Nations International Strategy on Disaster Reduction.
The ACT First site offers fun, interactive community resources to empower ACT residents to prepare for natural disasters. It's tightly integrated into the existing emergency preparedness and management ecosystem of the ACT, in particular esa.act.gov.au.
ACT residents have the highest level of tertiary education in Australia, given the strong prevalence of scientific research, tertiary education and public service employment in Canberra. Education is one thing - practical action and self-reliance is another. The ACT First project aims to empower ACT communities to become more self-reliant and resilient.
For all emergency information always visit the ACT Emergency Services Agency website which is a "single point of truth" for emergency information, advice and warning matters in the ACT.
Tracking actions, not intentions
ACT First tracks the number of preparedness actions taken across the ACT, creating an incentive for people to get involved. This site features an involvement map, showing the location and number of users who have already taken action and developed their own plans. This will motivate residents to take their own actions to be prepared and get on the map!
Give it a go!