Storm Blackout Leads To Roadtripping Sleepover


The in-house workers at three Melba group homes rose to the challenge when a superstorm ripped through Gippsland last week, swiftly evacuating their affected residents to nearby respite homes.

Tens of thousands of homes across Gippsland lost power, including three group homes run by Melba. Because of the blackout, the residents – 16 in total – had to be relocated… and at short notice, too.


“It was impromptu, and the support provided by our people was great,” explained one of the managers of Melba’s group homes in the area.


“The only good thing to come out of that storm was that our processes stood up, and the support workers in the homes were able to pack up the residents and move them to respite homes very successfully.


“They treated it like a holiday, ‘we’re going on a roadtrip,’ it did mean that we had to cancel some people from respite, so there’s a bit of a ripple effect there, because the residents were relocated into existing respite homes.”


The temporary homes were more than an hour’s drive away for the residents and staff – but they were warmly greeted when they arrived.


“The house supervisors were doing the hands-on - they were the ones doing the packing, physically supporting the residents to get there and also, supporting them once they were at their new destination, because they’re going to a new home that they don’t’ know.


“The staff from the respite homes were there getting ready for the guys to come in, putting the heaters on and making it nice and homely for when they got there, it was a two-pronged effort.”


The residents were relocated for the Thursday night, and were able to return to their homes on Friday – thankfully, although the power was cut, there was no storm damage.