Statement: Residents of Warrigal Bundanoon to come home after bushfire evacuation
- Created on Friday, 17 January 2020 09:02
Residents of Warrigal’s residential aged care home and Retirement Village at Bundanoon will be returned to their home starting this week as a result of local bushfire conditions stabilising.
78 residential aged care home residents, many with high needs and requiring 24/7 nursing, as well as 12 village households were relocated on January 3rd as a precaution against major bushfires burning nearby in the Southern Highlands and Morton National Park.
While there was no immediate threat to the home, Warrigal’s priority is our resident’s safety. We are devastated by the impact these fires have had on Bundanoon and surrounding areas and will work with the Community towards their recovery in any way we can.
“Warrigal determined that the safest option was to relocate all aged care residents temporarily to other Warrigal homes,” said CEO Mark Sewell. “Harbison Care Burradoo also assisted with emergency accommodation for some independent village residents and we thank them for their support.”
“As Warrigal has 9 aged care homes in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Queanbeyan we have the ability to temporarily relocate residents to safer locations. Our residents and their families take comfort that we can relocate our residents to safety within our own network of homes, accessing their own medical records and our own staff looking after them. Where possible we have also utilised staff from Bundanoon to support them with the move.”
“We have been so proud of both our Bundanoon staff who have worked selflessly to ensure our residents comfort and safety- sometimes even as their own homes were in danger, but also the staff at our other homes providing emergency accommodation - Mt Terry, Warilla, Goulburn and Queanbeyan who went out of their way to welcome the Bundanoon residents and put them at ease.” He said Warrigal has been in regular close contact with residents and families to provide updates. We have also had staff impacted by the widespread fires and have offered crisis line counselling, leave arrangements and will be debriefing staff as we return to normal operating conditions.
Warrigal have had regular updates with the Southern Highlands Rural Fire Service (RFS) Inspector and the Incident Controller who have indicated that it was safe to start returning residents to the home over the next few days.
Please be aware that the fire threat has not completely abated in the area and we are being cautious. We are re-admitting residents into the home section by section so the return will be staggered.
In anticipation of residents return we have undertaken a fire risk assessment as well as practical measures such as thorough sweep of the extensive gardens and surrounds of the building to remove branches, foliage and other debris to limit potential threats. We have also cleaned the building to minimise ash and smoke impacts. Warrigal is also considering installing fire abatement systems on and around the building as a part of our risk management planning.
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