Flood event 2022 : supports and resources


Victorian Flood Recovery Hotline

Many school communities continue to be impacted by the recent widespread flooding. If you or your staff are directly affected, there are supports available to help.

If you have been impacted by the Victorian flood event, you may contact the Victorian Flood Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 for assistance with:

  • navigating available supports
  • clean-up
  • temporary accommodation
  • mental health and wellbeing support.

The recovery hotline is open from 8.30 am-5.00 pm every day.

For general information on relief and recovery visit Emergency Victoria.

Damage to your school and clean up

If your school site or infrastructure was damaged, log a report through eduSafe Plus.

For help to make your school site safe, phone the Make-safe hotline on 1300 133 468.

For more information, visit Make-safe guidelines.

Flood-related health and safety advice

The following general advice is provided to assist clean-up activities and returning to the workplace following flooding events.

  • Staff should avoid entering flooded areas until advised safe to enter.
  • If undertaking clean-up work within the workspace, use Personal Protective Equipment such as heavy duty gloves and eye protection. Make sure closed shoes with non-slip soles are worn.
  • If flooding has caused damage to a facility, check the Asbestos Register. In case of a confirmed or assumed presence of asbestos, vacate the area and follow the School Asbestos Management Plan. For more information, visitAsbestos Management Policy
  • Electrical or gas appliances affected by floodwater should not be used until checked by a licensed electrician or plumber.
  • Staff and students who have come into contact with floodwater should wash their hands with clean water and detergent regularly, especially before eating and handling food products or providing first aid.
  • Consider that food supplies may be contaminated and throw away any food directly affected by flood or that has an unusual odour, colour and texture.
  • Consider the impact of floods on private water sources and septic tanks. VisitFloods and septic tanks and Floods and private water sources for more information.
  • With floods comes stagnant water and mosquito breeding. Mosquitos can carry diseases. Make sure staff and students cover skin with long sleeves and pants and use an insect repellent to minimise mosquito bites and remain sun safe. In Victoria, the Japanese encephalitis vaccineis available free-of-charge for specific priority groupsat selected General Practitioners (GPs), community pharmacies, Local Public Health Units.
  • Other potential dangers include biological hazards, mould, chemicals, water contamination, bacterial infections, debris and psychological stress and fatigue management. For more information, visit Make-safe guidelines.

For more advice and information, visit:              

Water damaged records

Do not immediately dispose of water damaged records.              

If safe to do so, gather as much of this information about the damaged records as possible:              

  • location of damaged records, for example, room, shipping container, under building, or out house
  • approximate volume of damaged records, for example, number of boxes, orroom size
  • type of records (if possible, noting that this may only be known if someone with knowledge of the school is present)
  • photos of the affected storage area and/or records, would be appreciated.

Assume that the records contain sensitive information and store them securely, if possible.              

Water damaged records can be successfully remediated if handled carefully and treated as soon as possible after becoming wet.              

Contact archives.records@education.vic.gov.au who will arrange for a specialist contractor to assess and retrieve the collection for remediation.              

             

Preventing mosquito-borne disease

After floods and heavy rainfall, mosquitoes can grow and spread in the pools of water left behind.

While the overall risk is low, some mosquitoes carry diseases that spread through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are generally more active at dusk and dawn, but some will also bite during the day.

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites.

Students and staff can protect against mosquito bites by:

  • covering up as much as possible with long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • using insect repellent that contains picaridin or DEET on exposed skin
  • limiting outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are active

Schools should:

  • communicate with parents about avoiding mosquito bites and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases while at school - schools can use the provided template content to send to staff and school communities.
  • where possible, remove stagnant water and containers to reduce mosquito breeding
  • seal any rainwater tanks or water storage devices
  • encourage students and staff to protect against mosquito bites
  • consider limiting outdoor activity if mosquitoes are prevalent
  • prevent mosquitoes from entering school buildings by:
    • repairing holes in flyscreens
    • closing windows and doors without flyscreens
    • using knockdown sprays or electronic zappers
    • cleaning gutters and storm water pits

For support with school infrastructure, please contact the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) on 1800 896 950 or email vsba@education.vic.gov.au.

In Victoria, the Japanese encephalitis vaccineis available free-of-charge for specific priority groups, at selected General Practitioners (GPs), community pharmacies, Local Public Health Units and some local councils.

Using insect repellent

Students and school staff should be encouraged to wear insect repellents that contain picaridin or DEET.                      

Repellent use is optional. Express written parental consent is not required to provide repellent to students, however parents should be informed and encouraged to discuss use with their children.                      

Schools may purchase insect repellent for staff and students to use.                      

A thin, even layer of insect repellent should be applied to all exposed skin. Remind students to avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes and mouth.                      

Staff and students should follow the below guidance for repellent use:                      

  • Use only as directed by the instructions on the label.
  • Roll-on or pump spray preparations are preferable to aerosols. Sharing roll-on between students is safe, but students with skin infections should use their own product.
  • If you need to apply both sunscreen and repellent, apply the sunscreen first.
  • Repellent is not water-resistant. It may need to be reapplied frequently, particularly if sweating from heat or exercise.
  • Do not use on cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Store repellents out of the reach of children.
  • Always discontinue use if any skin irritation occurs and seek medical advice as required.

Where a student has a known allergy to insect repellent or opts not to use repellent, other mosquito protection measures should be followed.                      

Schools can order insect repellent from a variety of retailers, including chemists, supermarkets and through the stationery state purchasing contract with Complete Office Supplies (COS) using the school's login details.                       

Schools should select repellent with the lowest concentration of DEET or picaridin available (eg.10%) and reapply as required. Lower concentration repellents may include:         

  • Aeroguard Odourless Protection
  • RID Medicated Insect Repellent Kids + Antiseptic repellent
  • RID Medicated Insect Repellent Low Irritant + Antiseptic repellent

Higher concentrations do not relate to better effectiveness, only the duration of the effect. Read further information on ordering through COS.

             

Sharing information about mosquito prevention

Please share information about mosquito prevention with school staff and your school community. Template newsletter content is provided for schools to use.

Further information:            

Better Health Channel has information about mosquito-borne diseases known in Victoria, including Japanese encephalitis.

Relief available for students and families in need

Financial support for students

Families with students enrolled in a school whose home and/or belongings have been damaged by the current Victorian floods will be able to access support up to the value of $1,200 for each student.            

Families will receive assistance to replace essential items such as uniforms, school shoes and stationery, and digital items such as USB dongles and headphones.            

Schools should notify families using theprovided template letter of the flood relief support and invite impacted families to register for support using the student flood support request formor call our dedicated hotline 1800 338 663.           

The hotline is open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm weekdays.            

           

Financial support for immediate needs

Emergency payments are available for people in some areas whose homes have been impacted by the current flooding.            

These payments are available to people who cannot return to their homes because they are inaccessible, damaged or destroyed.            

A one-off payment is given to help pay for immediate needs, including food, shelter, clothing, medication and accommodation.            

You can apply for an Emergency relief assistance payment. If you are eligible, you'll receive payment into your bank account within 3 to 5 business days. If you need to be paid in another way, call the Flood Recovery hotline on 1800 560 760. If you need an interpreter, call TIS on 131 450 first and ask for the Flood Recovery hotline.                   

                   

For people whose homes are damaged, destroyed and/or inaccessible for more than a week

Re-establishment assistance is available to households of limited financial means, whose home is damaged or destroyed or is inaccessible for more than 7 days due to the recent Victorian flood emergency.             

This financial assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. The total maximum emergency re-establishment payment is $43,850 per household, however this depends on household composition and income.             

For information and support about the relief services that may be available to you, and to enquire about a re-establishment payment, call the Flood Recovery hotline: 1800 560 760. If you need an interpreter call TIS on 131 450 and ask for the Flood Recovery hotline.

Fact sheets and key messages are available on Personal Hardship Assistance Program - DFFH Services.             

Students with disability

The NDIS can assist participants who are impacted because of disability, need urgent repairs or replacement of assistive technology. Contact the NDIS National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 or visit the NDIS website for more.                     

                     

School uniforms and supplies

The Affordable School Uniforms program supports eligible government school students in need by providing new school uniforms, school shoes and other essential educational resources.              

To access support from the Affordable School Uniforms program, schools can submit applications through their State Schools’ Relief’s online portal after having assessed students’ needs in line with State Schools’ Relief’s criteria. The application and distribution process is confidential.              

              

Food relief for your school community

Food relief is available to impacted school communities through the School Breakfast Clubs program, delivered in partnership with Foodbank Victoria.              

Victorian government and non-government schools can access food supplies from the School Breakfast Clubs program and Foodbank Victoria to support families in school communities impacted by the floods.              

Foodbank Victoria will deliver the food supplies directly to your school, as access permits.              

You can order as much food as needed over the coming weeks to support your school community during this time              

Orders are now open to schools.              

              

How to access food supplies for families

Schools currently taking part in the School Breakfast Clubs program

You can place a new order for further food supplies through the existing School Breakfast Clubs Program online ordering portal to replenish these supplies and meet the additional needs of your community. You can also order boxes and/or carry bags to make up food hampers to be distributed to families in need.             

Foodbank Victoria will deliver new orders directly to your school as access permits.             

Schools in flood-impacted LGAs not currently taking part in the School Breakfast Clubs program

Even if your school is not currently taking part in the School Breakfast Clubs program, you can still order food through Foodbank Victoria to support families in need during this time.
Your school can email Foodbank Victoria on schoolbreakfastclub@foodbankvictoria.org.au to request food relief.

Foodbank Victoria will deliver food items directly to your school as access permits over the coming weeks. You can also order boxes and/or carry bags to make up food hampers to be distributed to families in need.             

Grants and funding available to schools

Clean-up grants

Repair work at schools that were damaged in recent storm and flood eventsis continuing.

To support schools in their recovery, flood-affected schools received $10,000 to help with clean-up activities.

Schools can use this for their particular needs, and will include cleaning outdoor equipment from mud and debris, as well as general clean up.

If you need help engaging a supplier, please contact the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) on 1800 896 950 or email vsba@education.vic.gov.au.

Furniture, fixtures, equipment and school consumables grants

Funding is also available for flood-affected schools whose furniture, fixtures, equipment and school consumables have been damaged or lost.

All flood-affected government schools are eligible. The application is a simple form that seeks information on each school's needs.

Schools can apply for this funding via the VSBA's dedicated website.

Emergency leave provisions for school and corporate staff

The impact of severe weather events can be felt by employees in many ways. Staff should be aware that leave with pay is available when an employee is prevented from attending their workplace due to the impact of the floods.

Where staff can access the workplace or there is scope for the work to be performed remotely, employees are expected to perform duties at their usual place of work or under approved work from home arrangements, in the normal manner.

Where an employee is unable to attend for duty or work remotely, the employee may be granted up to 5 days leave with pay for reasons including:

  • protection of their property
  • road closures
  • providing care for their child or children whose school and/or other children’s service or school bus route is closed and for whom no alternative care arrangements could be made
  • evacuation of their family as a result of the flood.

More information for managers and employees can be found on:

For further advice, contact the Policy and Workplace Relations team:

Health, safety and wellbeing supports for school and corporate staff

Supports and resources are available to government school and department workforces affected by the October 2022 Victorian Flood event.

Employee Assistance Program

All department staff, including school, regional, corporate staff, and their immediate family members (aged 18 years and over) can access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

This free, confidential counselling service is provided by mental health professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The EAP can:

  • enable you to have a confidential conversation about your experiences or concerns
  • develop a personal recovery plan
  • put some self-care strategies in place
  • help you to manage anxiety and stress
  • support with effects of post trauma.

To access the EPA call 1300 361 008 or use the Lifeworks Australia live chat function to help make a booking.

As accessibility improves and staff return to school sites, onsite EAP can also be organised. Contact employee.wellbeing.response.team@education.vic.gov.au for more information.   

Proactive Wellbeing Support for principal class and regional executives

Principal class officers and regional executive are encouraged to access Proactive Wellbeing Support, by calling FBG Group on 1300 326 941, or emailing wellbeing@fbggroup.com.au.

Proactive Wellbeing Support provides free, confidential coaching provided by experienced psychologists to prepare you to support your staff and region through the flooding event recovery.

When the time is right, your staff will likely turn to you for support. Proactive Wellbeing Support will partner you with an experienced psychologist to help you plan support for your area in the days, weeks and months to come.

With your coach, you can work through strategies to provide practical and helpful support to those who need it, when they need it. You're encouraged to continue checking in with your coach to debrief and continue to plan for supporting staff showing distress reactions.

How to manage fatigue

Many staff are working long hours to support the flood response. Experiencing fatigue is a common response to working for prolonged periods of time without the opportunity for adequate breaks or restorative sleep.

As this work is sustained over the coming weeks, it's important that fatigue management strategies are implemented as soon as possible by all affected areas. Unmanaged fatigue can be a risk to health and safety.

Managers, in discussion with their teams, should implement rostering or shift work arrangements as soon as possible. This will help minimise risk of fatigue.

Fatigue management strategies can include:

  • implement rostering or shift work arrangements to give staff breaks
  • expand flexible work practices where possible
  • remove or reduce non-essential work tasks or performance measures that may contribute to workload
  • distribute work amongst team members
  • talk to staff about what fatigue can look like, so they can identify if they are feeling impacted
  • encourage taking regular breaks, keeping hydrated and eating well-balanced nutritious meals
  • caution against the overuse of caffeine
  • continue to check in with staff to identify where additional support can be provided.

Family violence supports following emergencies

Family violence incidents can increase during emergency and traumatic situations and in the aftermath of these situations.

Family violence support outlines the supports available to students, families and staff affected by family violence. It also outlines school reporting requirements in relation to family violence.   

For resources and information about support options for those experiencing family violence, visit What is family violence?

Other services

If you're worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. You can also contact:  

  • 000 for immediate concerns
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs on 1300 375 370
  • your doctor or local community health centre
  • a counsellor or psychologist
  • NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24
  • Beyond Blue
  • Mensline Australia
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service on 1800 333 497
  • accredited Social Workers. To find a social worker call 1800 630 124 (Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm).

Health, safety and wellbeing supports for students

Students and young people may experience longer-term emotional and psychosocial impacts because of emergency events.

If your child requires support, you may contact your school to talk about:

You may also get support through:

Recovery resources

The following resources can support school staff in recovery and can help with supporting children and young people in recovery:

We also created the following factsheets to help those working in school communities impacted by a disaster to:

  • look after their own wellbeing
  • provide guidance to children in their school community following a disaster.

Translated services

Donations

Donations for physical items and goods that are made to schools can be referred to GIVIT.

The Victorian government, through Emergency Recovery Victoria, is working closely with GIVIT to help disaster-impacted communities get the help they need through donations.

Through GIVIT's website, people and organisations can donate goods, services, and funds to help individuals and communities in their recovery. The GIVIT donation website is free to use and makes giving easy by allowing you to see exactly what is needed in affected communities.

GIVIT manages a virtual warehouse through which donors can register and list items they are wanting to donate, and schools can register and search through what is being offered and secure the items or services directly with the donor.

For more information, refer to the GIVIT frequently asked questions.

Media support

If you're contacted by a member of the media and need support, contact the media team on 8688 7776.

Find out more

  • For department queries related to flood events, call 1800 338 663, and follow the relevant prompts. This service is available 8:30 am to 5 pm, on weekdays.
  • For the latest storm and flood information, visit Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)
  • For up-to-date emergency warnings and information, visit VicEmergency respond.
  • For information on relief and recovery, refer to the VicEmergency relief.
  • For emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the Victorian State Emergency Service on 13 25 00.
  • For emergency information about floods and storms, call the SES information line on 1300 842 737.
  • For information on supports for students and families, refer to support for children, students and families.