An image of an AusNet community response vehicle
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AusNet has announced that it has invested in four community response vehicles to assist communities during severe weather events. 

The Emergency Management Mobile Assistance vehicles (EMMAs) are expected to be deployed to communities impacted by future large scale unplanned outages. 

AusNet’s Executive General Manager Network Operations, Andrew Linnie, said AusNet has listened to community feedback after the February 2024 storm event. 

“We attended community engagement sessions following the storms to hear from communities about the issues that impacted them most. They told us that mobile phone charging and internet access are essential for regions impacted by long-term unplanned outages caused by severe weather events, so these will be incorporated into the vehicles. 

“They will also have a defibrillator and first aid, with our representatives trained in their use, for the unlikely event of them being needed. 

“These vehicles will provide important relief for communities. We will be able to deploy them quickly in response to prolonged outages and we hope they will provide important respite and essential advice on network restoration to people when they most need it.” 

AusNet said that the vehicles will also be used in future awareness campaigns to help communities better prepare for prolonged outages.  

“The first of the EMMAs is now operational, with the three larger vehicles due for completion by the end of the year currently being modified. 

Vehicle deployment will be decided on a case-by-case basis by a team of senior AusNet staff involved in the incident management efforts during large-scale unplanned outages. 

“When determining vehicle deployment, every incident and location is different. We’ll make assessments based on a range of factors such as the progress of the event, the estimated restoration time, and the location of relief and recovery centres, amongst other things. 

In July 2024, AusNet will publish the results of an independent review which examined all aspects of its handling of the February 2024 storm events, including organisational systems, processes and governance. 

Featured Image: AusNet will support communities during unplanned power outages with its new community response vehicles. Image credit: AusNet.

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