In this issue:                                                                     February 2017

Councils and Emergencies
Resilient Recovery discussion paper
Municipal Emergency Management Collaboration Project

EMV reviews
Heat health
New data to improve flood modelling
Fire Awareness Awards
Thunderstorm asthma review
Operation Firesetter

VicEmergency Updates
IGEM plan of reviews

Councils and Emergencies

Local Government Victoria (LGV) recently released a Councils and Emergencies Directions Paper as the final consultation stage in the first phase of their Councils and Emergencies project.

The MAV has engaged consultant Russell Rees to facilitate six consultation sessions in February and March to discuss the role of councils in emergency management, support councils in making submissions and assist with preparing a draft MAV response to the paper.

LGV has announced the dates for their information sessions on the paper.

This is a critical project for councils and the MAV strongly encourages all councils to make a submission, as well as contributing to the MAV submission.

Submissions close 8 May.

For more information please contact Emma Lake.

Resilient Recovery discussion paper

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) is seeking feedback on significant reform to emergency management relief and recovery arrangements.

EMV recently released the Discussion Paper: Resilient Recovery to canvass the future opportunities for change in Victoria's arrangements.

The reform will consider relief and recovery from a holistic, community outcome perspective that is community focused and driven, and aligns with the strategic direction of Victorian emergency management policy to build resilience before, during and after emergency events.

The Resilient Recovery Model proposed in the discussion paper connects community systems and networks to support wellbeing, liveability, sustainability, and viability outcomes.

EMV is seeking feedback on the discussion paper until 13 April. Responses can be submitted online and via email.

The MAV would like to hear from councils about your views on the paper, before we circulate a draft MAV submission for councils' feedback in late March.

For more information, or to submit feedback, contact Emma Lake.

Municipal Emergency Management Collaboration Project

Victorian councils have been voluntarily collaborating with their neighbouring councils on various aspects of emergency management planning and service delivery for many years.

There are currently 12 established municipal collaborations that differ in terms of purpose, capability and maturity.

Emergency Management Victoria in partnership with Local Government Victoria, the Victorian Management Insurance Authority, the MAV and the Municipal Emergency Management Enhancement Management Group have commenced a study of the currently established municipal emergency collaborations around the state to identify their challenges, needs and opportunities.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • develop a shared understanding and appreciation of the various municipal emergency management collaboration models across the state
  • understand what is working well and identify good practice
  • identify the benefits of municipal emergency management collaborations to the state and emergency management sector, and how these models can be better supported.

An update on this project will be provided in a future Emergency Management Bulletin.

EMV reviews

Late last year, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) released two reports, the 2015-16 Year in Review and the 2015-16 Emergency Management Operational Review.

The 2015-16 Year in Review captures a range of the work undertaken by EMV throughout the previous year, and provides a high level summary of each of these pieces of work.

The 2015-16 Emergency Management Operational Review is a summary of sector-wide operational activity throughout the year, which is broken into three parts:

  • Section 1 provides an overview outlining the activities experienced during 2015-16
  • Section 2 includes a range of case studies of operational incidents, capturing good practice and areas for improvement
  • Section 3 provides an update on the themes and insights developed during 2014-15, and highlights where these have been addressed.

Heat health

Extreme heat and heatwaves can affect anybody, especially those most at risk such as older people, babies and young children, pregnant and nursing mothers, people who are physically unwell or on medications for mental health issues. Heat kills more Australians than any other natural disaster.

The Department of Health and Human Services manages a subscription service for the distribution of heat health alerts and other Chief Health Officer alerts. Anyone can subscribe to this service.

DHHS also provides resources for local government as part of its Survive the Heat Campaign including social media graphics, suggested posts and information packs.

New data to improve flood modelling

The Australian Rainfall and Runoff Guidelines 2016 were finalised in November, providing engineers and consultants with the guidance and data sets necessary to produce more accurate and consistent flood studies and mapping across Australia.

The update was a collaboration between Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and Engineers Australia.

These guidelines are to be used in conjunction with the BoM’s recently released Intensity–Frequency–Duration design rainfall estimates. These estimates include observations from over 10,000 rainfall gauging stations, including 2,300 extra rainfall stations and nearly three decades of additional rainfall data.

Fire Awareness Awards

Councils, community groups and individuals helping to reduce the risk and impact of fire across Victoria were recognised at the 2016 Fire Awareness Awards ceremony late last year.

More than 80 nominations were received for the awards, with 18 recipients recognised at the ceremony which included three councils:

  • Cardinia Shire Council joined Echo Youth and Family Services Inc. and the Cockatoo Township Committee were awarded the RACV Insurance Award for Excellence for the best community project
  • Surf Coast Shire Council was awarded for their work with The Fire Game, a community-led preparedness award
  • Benalla Rural City Council in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services won an award for industry recovery.

The MAV congratulates these councils for their emergency management work as recognised by the 2016 Fire Awareness Awards.

Thunderstorm asthma review

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) is leading a state-wide review of the emergency response to the thunderstorm asthma event that occurred on 21 November.

The scope of the review includes:

  • The appropriateness and adequacy of the response under the Public Health Response Plan of 21 and 22 November, including the speed of escalation
  • The Role of Emergency Management Victoria and the department in respect of this public health events, and adequacy of support provided to emergency and public health services
  • Consideration of public warnings and health advice, taking account of predictability and preventive steps available for this type of event.

IGEM has now released the Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21-22 November 2016: Preliminary report. The final review will be provided to government in April.

More information on thunderstorm asthma is available on the Better Health Channel.

Operation Firesetter

Victoria Police has been undertaking visible patrols to prevent and apprehend arsonists this fire season as part of Operation Firesetter. The operation also includes investigations into suspicious fire activity and bushfire arson persons of interest.

Operation Firesetter is a state-wide coordinated initiative that intensifies during periods of high fire danger, with increased resources deployed to those areas of greatest risk.

The Bushfire Arson Prevention Policy Statement 2015-2018 provides more information about Victoria Police's arson strategy.

Victoria Police urges the community to report suspicious behaviour by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

VicEmergency Updates

The VicEmergency smartphone application was launched just prior to summer to bring together emergency information and warnings from agencies including:

  • Country Fire Authority
  • Department of Economic Development and Transport and Resources
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Life Saving Victoria
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade
  • Victoria State Emergency Service.

The VicEmergency app replaced the FireReady app and is now available to download from the App Store or Google Play.

Additionally, a new VicEmergency hotline (1800 226 226) has been created to provide information warnings, preparedness and recovery information, planned burns and more. This hotline replaces the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, State Emergency Services Information Line, Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line, and other various contact lines from State Government Departments.

Existing phone lines will remain active and will be forwarded to the new VicEmergency Hotline.

IGEM plan of reviews

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) has released two publications relating to their future plans for reviews, the Annual Forward Plan of Reviews 2017 and the Forward Projection of Reviews 2018-22.

The Annual Forward Plan of Reviews 2017 states IGEM’s intention to undertake two reviews in 2017, a governance review, and an emergency management for high-risk Victorian communities review.

The Forward Projection of Reviews provides the emergency management sector with a high-level, thematic overview of the potential areas IGEM may review from 2018, however these topics may change due to a consideration of risks and emerging factors, as well as a range of other factors.

Upcoming MAV events...

27 Feb-7 March

Emergency Management Consultation Sessions

15-16 March

Hacktivation: Transforming Local Government in the Innovation Era

28-29 March

Smart Urban Futures


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