During an emergency, residents in the City of Wanneroo may be evacuated from their homes and not able to return to their properties for several days or even weeks, depending on the severity of the emergency.
Hazard Management Agencies such as Department of Fire and Emergency Services and WA Police have authority under the Emergency Services Act to prohibit the movement of people, animals and vehicles into, out of or around an emergency area, where an emergency has been declared. Roads and access routes may be closed.
Prior to an evacuation area becoming accessible, emergency services must undertake a risk assessment/recommend a treatment plan relating to four recovery environments:
This will involve assessing the safety of roads/buildings, power lines, stormwater drains, trees/waterways as well as many other issues. There may also be other reasons to delay or restrict access to an evacuated area, such as the preservation of a crime scene or as part of a coronial investigation.
Once the hazard has been eliminated, controlled access to the area may be possible.
A Restricted Access Permit may be issued to residents, business owners, utility companies or other approved persons to enter a ‘restricted access area’.
This ‘restricted access area’ is a designated area within an incident area, which authorised persons can enter for a period of time and for a specific purpose. This will be after the immediate threat has passed.
The Restricted Access Permit allows people to:
- Activate their emergency plan;
- Collect valuables and/or pets;
- Transport various commodities such as milk, water, stock-feed and store supplies;
- Tend to livestock; or
- Undertake other approved activities.
Restricted Access permits are issued once it has been deemed safe for persons to enter a restricted access area. Once deemed safe, a restricted access permit issuing unit is established in a suitable location, generally in a local community area.
The location of the issuing unit for a specific incident is broadcast on alerts and warnings issued by DFES through Emergency WA.
Further information on Restricted Access Permits can be found on the DFES website.
Once Emergency Services has completed the necessary risk assessment and treatment plan, safe community access to the affected area, or to parts of it, can be recommended. Residents will be advised as soon as practicable once access to an affected area / properties is possible.
For residents returning home following a bushfire or other major emergency, it can be a daunting experience.
Take some time now, to read about what this might mean to you, your family, your pets and animals and your home: Recovering from a bushfire.