In this issue:                                                                     August 2014

Emergency Management Victoria post fire season operational review
Critical Infrastructure Legislation
Emergency Management Roundtable
Country Fire Authority (CFA) Regulations: comment sought
Flood Forum Victoria
Your Guide to Survival
Draft Fire Operations Plans
Community Safety Month
International Day for Disaster Reduction
Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre Forums

Summer Fire Campaign Communications Briefing

Emergency Management Victoria post fire season operational review

The 2013/14 fire season was the most significant since the 2008/09 season. Through the season, Victoria had 19 Extreme and Severe Fire Danger Rating days. More than 463,000 hectares of public and private land was burnt and 80 residences were destroyed.

The 2013/14 Post Season Operations Review involved a collaborative assessment of the sector’s operations during the season, and recognised the importance of timely, tailored and relevant warnings and information during an emergency. Matters raised with the MAV through MEMEG are also included.

Along with the Post Season Operations Review, three case studies have been developed. These case studies should be read in conjunction with the review, and include Evacuation, Urban-Rural Interface Fires, and Managing Priorities.

The themes identified from the review will be incorporated into preseason briefings for 2014/15, as well as the new edition of the Victorian Bushfire Handbook.

Critical Infrastructure Legislation

The Emergency Management Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Bill 2014 amends the Emergency Management Act 2013. The Bill will ensure that owners and operators of critical infrastructure vital to the delivery of essential services have clearly defined risk management arrangements in place.

Under the Bill, essential services include: water, electricity, power and fuel.

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) will support the arrangements, as the overarching emergency management body. As such, EMV will establish and maintain a critical infrastructure register.

Individual government departments and agencies will monitor critical infrastructure that falls within their portfolio and the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) will have the function of ensuring compliance with the arrangements.

Emergency Management Roundtable

The Emergency Management Roundtable convened by the Emergency Management Commissioner on 20 August provided an opportunity for government, emergency services and local councils to review three key themes from the 2013-14 fire season. The key themes were traffic management, evacuation and fire causation.

The traffic management session focussed on key issues emerging from the annual review process. The first of these centred on traffic management points and their associated community impact. The other was animal welfare.

Among the recommendations to emerge from this session were the need for better liaison with councils, and the need to prioritise “lifeline” roads to minimise community impacts.

The evacuation session looked in detail at the Grampians evacuation in 2014. Key recommendations included:

  • Developing a better understanding of the evacuation needs of individual communities, including demographic makeup and vulnerable people
  • Linking the MECC and ICC through improved communications
  • Building connections with local leasers to improve capacity for the local delivery of information
  • Facilitating a smoother return of communities after evacuation.

The fire causation session examined emerging issues from fires started during harvesting and the broad problems associated with bushfire arson.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) Regulations: comment sought

The Country Fire Authority Regulations 2004 will sunset on 26 January 2015, and a process is currently underway to remake those regulations.

The proposed Regulations, to be made under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (the Act), would revoke the Country Fire Authority Regulations 2004, and provide for a range of matters that relate to the governance and administration of the CFA and brigades, as well as for fire prevention, and the fees that may be charged by the CFA.

Public comments are invited on the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and the proposed Regulations.

All comments must be in writing, and should be marked ‘Country Fire Authority RIS’, no later than 5pm on 17 September.

Post to: Pierre Andipatin, Senior Legal Policy Officer, Emergency Management Victoria, GPO Box 4386, Melbourne VIC, 3001 or send via email.

All comments and submissions will be treated as public documents, unless the person making the comment or submission requests that it not be publicly available.

Flood Forum Victoria

Registrations for the two-day Flood Forum Victoria open on Monday.

The inaugural forum, to be hosted by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA), will be held in Mildura on 13-14 November.

Floodplain managers, urban planners, water authorities, emergency and community services, all tiers of government, researchers, consultants, engineers and land managers are encouraged to attend.

Program details will be available on the Mallee CMA website from next week.

Submissions for abstracts are now closed. If you have any questions regarding abstracts please contact Geri Thwaites at Mallee CMA on 5051 4562.

Your Guide to Survival

The CFA recently released a condensed version of its Fire Ready Kit. The ‘Your Guide to Survival’ document is a handy resource for helping residents understand their fire risk.

It covers information on high risk days, why leaving early is important and what to expect during a bushfire.

Draft Fire Operations Plans

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries has released its Draft Fire Operations Plans for planned burns. The Fire Operations Plans for 2014/15-2016/17 will be finalised following a formal public comment process that was conducted throughout August.

The planned burn target for 2014-15 is 275, 000 hectares a table and map of the planned burn locations is available on the DEPI Website.

Draft Fire Operations Plans and district maps for each DEPI region are also available.

Community Safety Month

Community Safety Month is held every October and is an opportunity to build community safety partnerships between councils, community services organisations and the community. Resources to promote Community Safety Month are available to download.

The Victorian Safe Communities Network (VSCN) will also be holding a ‘Mapping Our Practice’ event for community safety practitioners. Registration is now open for this event, which is free for VSCN members.

International Day for Disaster Reduction

The theme for this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction is ‘Resilience is for life’. This theme highlights the importance of including older people in risk reduction policies and strategies.

Older people can play a critical role in resilience building through their experience and knowledge.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction is October 13.

Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre Forums

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC) will be hosting a range of forums in September. The Thinking under Fire forum is being held on 8 September and will explore how people behave, make decisions and respond to stressful situations – such as bushfire.

Beyond the Incident, 29 September, will focus on information flows, communication, coordination and capacity to adjust to changing scenarios. The forum will investigate how these different factors can be used to enable more effective incident management.

Summer Fire Campaign Communications Briefing

Registrations are open for the 2014/15 Summer Fire Campaign Communications Briefing for council communications officers and emergency management officers.

The agenda will include the seasonal outlook by the Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley along with presentations about the current messaging and priorities to improve community awareness and preparedness for bushfire/grassfire.

Encourage your council’s communications officer to attend. This free event, organised by the Department of Justice and the MAV, will be held on Tuesday October 14, 10am-3pm at MFB Burnley, 450 Burnley St, Richmond VIC 3121.

Upcoming MAV events...

12 September

Opportunities for partnerships


17 September

Future of local food in Australia workshop

18 September

Maternal and child health conference


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