Rehearsing a disaster scenario inside a relief centre may not be everyone’s idea of how to spend a weekend but that is what has been happening in North Melbourne.
Arts House at North Melbourne town hall is a designated relief centre which, for 24 hours, is being used for a flooding emergency rehearsal.
Six artists have been invited to work with emergency management staff to help provide additional activities in the relief centre.
Angharad Wynne-Jones, the artistic director of Arts House, said to build more resilient communities, more work was needed in order to better deliver services required in a relief centre.
“I think that’s a really important part of it, to think about how artists can work along side the emergency services to really enhance the experience for those people,” she said.
“Sometimes we forget the basic requirements of a culturally diverse country like Australia, such as prayer rooms, quiet rooms.”
For example, one artist was providing music playlists to allow people to escape the stress and trauma of a disaster scenario.
Another artist was providing exercise games so a person could measure the output of their exercise with a view to monitoring energy production needed in the relief centre.
Ms Wynne-Jones said while their exercise was just a rehearsal, emergency incidents were becoming more and more common.
“This is definitely within the realms of possibility,” she said.
“There will be storms, we know already there’s increased heat,” she said.
“The next time we do this event we’re looking at five days over 40 degrees which we’ve already experienced in Victoria.
“It’s happening, it’s not a future projection, it’s a reality.”
The project is part of a wider strategy, including councils and community groups, aimed at looking at ways to improve the lives of Melbournians. To read more click here.