Key things to help you everyday Things to watch

Now is the time for emergency and fire safety preparation

Emergency and fire safety are key components of a compliant, safe and well managed village.

Be it for Workplace Health and Safety requirements, Retirement Village Act compliance or as part of a development approval condition, every village is required to have an emergency and fire safety plan. 

And fires aren’t the only threat a village professional needs to be aware of. 

Other emergencies like gas leaks, bomb threats and cyber attacks must also be planned for.

In my experience coming out of winter or early spring is a great time to schedule the review of these plans and any supporting activities.

Things to review:

  • Fuel reduction activities such as tree lopping and bush trimming
  • Fire warden refresher training
  • Continuity plans in the event of there being no access to the village, no phone lines, no electricity or no access to emergency contact records
  • Accessibility and visibility, like cutting back of hedges
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for residents that may require additional assistance from emergency services
  • Alternative route maps in case residents cannot leave by their usual route
  • Fire equipment and maintenance, including the checking for deterioration of hoses and equipment
  • Emergency lighting
  • Evacuation procedures

Here are a couple of ideas we’d suggest, as part of your review:

  • Consider inviting the local emergency services in to update them on any new process, personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEP), equipment or access arrangements
  • Revisit notification systems – notification strategies, door knocking, telephone trees, window signs
  • Organise a guest speaker from fire services to refresh all residents on their own personal plans, particularly if in higher bushfire risk areas
  • Arrange for warden and volunteer resident refresher training

We’d also recommend engaging in a two-way dialogue with the resident committee, wardens and your team. Even consider developing a resident interest group that may act as a sounding board to be engaged in supporting these activities throughout the year.

Key things to help you everyday

Characteristics that make for a good Village Manager​

Who doesn’t want to be the best Village Manager and yet when it comes to recruitment, it’s business acumen that’s considered important, mostly to fulfil the ‘operator compliance requirements’

However, village residents see those skills a little differently, and Resident Association Presidents have shared the characteristics they feel make a great Village Manager – the so-called ‘soft skills.’

  • Honesty and has a sense of humour
  • A genuine listener who takes an interest in the community
  • Consultative and able to understand every resident is different
  • Transparent and follows up on issues
  • An influencer for the good of the village

Many of these characteristics are based around good communication strategies, not ones put in place by marketing teams, it’s about you the Village Manager ensuring effective communication is a priority.

A smile costs you nothing. Add in empathy and it will go a long way to building trust and long-term relationships within your village.

I have often had to remind myself of the importance of stepping back from the busy day to day reporting, compliance and paperwork and take time out in my day to reach out and build great relationships.

Many of us will have been attracted to the role of Village Manager for the joy of supporting the community and serve residents, therefore for our own job satisfaction we too must ensure we build time into our diaries to make this happen.

If you are part of the VM program you can download the WHS checklist as part of the month-end materials.