Bermagui is taking its future safety in its own hands with the creation and distribution of a community emergency guide.
The guide was officially launched on Thursday night, October 28, at the newly christened Bermagui Big Game Angling Club rooms at the country club.
The significant project was coordinated by the Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor Information Centre volunteers and involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears getting it to this point.
Chamber secretary Janette Neilson said the idea came about during a series of community meetings held in the aftermath of the 2019/20 bushfires.
Bermagui itself didn't burn, but much of its surrounding countryside and many homes in outlying localities did.
However, it did become a hub for evacuees and an important place of refuge for so many during those dark days.
As a result, through the "Time to Talk" sessions, Ms Neilson said the community raised questions of preparedness and how it could be improved upon in the event of an emergency happening again.
And so the seed of the Bermagui Emergency Guide was planted.
On Thursday, Lewis Gaha from the Bermagui Rural Fire Brigade spoke about the finished product and how more than 1000 have been printed and assembled by volunteers.
It will also see a dedicated effort by the town's emergency service volunteers to distribute the guide, with a copy to be hand delivered to every home in the Bermagui, Wallaga and Barragga Bay areas.
"A plan is only useful when it's read and actioned upon," Mr Gaha said.
"[The guide] provides a great framework. The Bermagui RFS is grateful to be on board with this.
"People need to prepare and be as self-sufficient as possible. If you and your home are well prepared you stand the best chance of surviving fire."
However, the guide goes beyond bushfires to outline information and advice on storms, floods and even tsunami evacuation options.
"It's about understanding the risks, preparing your plan and putting it into action when needed," Bermagui VIC manager Christine Bimson said.
John Mills from the Bermagui State Emergency Service branch also reiterated that the guide would assist people's own preparations in case emergency events arrived on Bermagui's doorstep once again.
"It's a way of knowing who does what and how all the services work together," Mr Mills said.
Ms Neilson said the guide was purposely made as a looseleaf binder so that updated information can be added as required, while there are also pockets available for people's own important documents they wish to have on hand in emergency situations too - insurance paperwork and so on.
Funding for the guide game from several sources, including $10,000 from the Australian Mutuals Foundation, around $8000 from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, and nearly $2000 from Bega Valley Shire Council to cover the paper and printer toner.
BVSC councillor Tony Allen was also at the launch and said while he hoped an emergency on the scale of Black Summer would never happen again, that you couldn't beat experience when it came to learning and sharing information.
"My wife and family came to Bermagui during the evacuations and we're very grateful for the help they received at the surf lifesaving club," Cr Allen said.
"It's when tough times come that's when small community values come to the fore. The resolve of a community is paramount.
"You need someone to take charge and having a plan is the starting point."