GRATEFUL: Gemfields Community Reference Group representative Kim Tompson.
GRATEFUL: Gemfields Community Reference Group representative Kim Tompson.

Gemfields siren system to help keep residents safe

AN EARLY warning siren system installed in the Gemfields has been praised as a “great thing for the community” that could prevent future disaster.

Gemfields residents should not fear if they hear emergency sirens next week, as the Central Highlands Regional Council tests installations at Sapphire and Graves Hill on Wednesday, June 10 between 9am and 3pm.

Gemfields Community Reference Group representative Kim Tompson said the warning system could save lives.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “A siren to me is amazing.

“It’s going to give people who otherwise wouldn’t have known that the creek was rising or the bushfire was approaching an opportunity to get out of the way of the disaster.

“Had there been a warning system during the big floods, people may not have been isolated in the flood waters. Why wouldn’t you want them?”

The sirens will sound up to five times on Wednesday, for up to two minutes each time. Each test will include a siren tone followed by a voice message.

The system cost $300,000 and is meant to warn residents of floods or bushfires.

“It’ll be interesting to see how far the sound travels,” Ms Tompson said. “There’s a lot of dwellings there; there’s a lot of people that camp by the creek.

“We’re all very grateful that the council has invested that much into our community, both the residents and our visitors.”

As part of floodplain management work, the council also installed rain and river height gauges throughout the Gemfields.

The council said that in the future, if the sirens are activated outside of testing, people should visit the council’s Emergency Management Dashboard and follow advice from emergency services.


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