The people of Kangarilla are actively improving their capabilities to cope with potential emergency situations.

Published on 21 September 2022

Award win for community resilience project

A people-powered project to better prepare Kangarilla for emergency situations has been recognised with a statewide award.

The Community-Led Emergency Resilience pilot project was facilitated by Australian Red Cross in collaboration with community leaders in Kangarilla, supported by City of Onkaparinga and funded under the National Disaster Resilience Program by SAFECOM.

Late last month it was awarded the South Australian Resilient Australia Community Award, which will now see it vie for a national award later this year.

The project, which ended in 2021, aimed to support the whole community to band together to be more effectively prepared for and respond to a significant emergency event.

Twelve community leaders were engaged with the project and they prioritised and kickstarted 11 initiatives in Kangarilla after identifying gaps and needs within the community.

The initiatives identified community-led actions to build community connectedness, increase understanding of risk and vulnerability, and strengthen local emergency policies and procedures, as well as improve local resources to prepare, respond and recover from emergencies.

Crucial to the project was a dedicated Facebook group, which has grown to more than 220 members and continues to be used as a key communication tool for community members to share information.

The group’s purpose to serve as the community’s main communication network for emergency notification and social connection was put to the test in the January 2021 Cherry Gardens fires.

Interaction in the group increased considerably as people were kept informed of the proximity of the fire, air quality and visibility; as well as directing people to the correct links to emergency management agencies such as CFS, SAPOL as well as the Alert SA app.

Community members also offered assistance and resources to each other, with many members reporting back that they felt safe and supported by the group.

Other actions and initiatives achieved by the group included:

  • a community emergency communication survey
  • community COVID-19 risk assessment plan
  • community emergency preparedness and recovery plan
  • an emergency resilience event attended by 108 people to hear from emergency agencies and lived experience speakers, and to work together to inform their community emergency preparedness plan
  • horse and livestock emergency info event
  • Kangarilla Primary School student group, which developed their own emergency preparedness ideas and endorsed a youth-led awareness-raising campaign
  • community noticeboard
  • local multi-hazard emergency preparedness calendar
  • regular emergency preparedness articles in the local newsletter.

While the project was completed in 2021, resilience-building activities continue today, and residents have reported feeling more connected, having increased knowledge about what they should do in an emergency, and feeling better placed to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency.

If you’d like to get involved with the group, contact Bernie Boag (Kangarilla Emergency Resilience Group) at 0416 232 353 (or find her at the General Store!), or sign up for the Facebook group.

City of Onkaparinga continues to support bushfire risk reduction and community resilience through a number of projects, including one that recently secured $3.57 million in federal government funding, and another that received $165,000 in state government funding.


Pictured: Kangarilla's Gregg Howard, Bernadette Boag and David Cant share ideas about emergency resilience.