In this issue:                                                                  September, 2013

Gender and emergency management factsheet
New registration form for use in relief centres
Emergency Management Commissioner Designate announced
Responding to shared responsibility
Location-based Emergency Alert test
Career firefighter opportunities in mid-2014
CFA’s Fire Ready Kit
CSIRO fire behaviour symposium
Advancing emergency communications in the digital age

Gender and emergency management factsheet

The MAV has developed a gender and emergency management fact sheet designed to raise awareness of how gender and emergency management interact. It also provides practical advice to help councils consider gender in emergency management planning and service delivery.

The short two-page fact sheet contains information on:

  • the relevance of gender to emergency management
  • the benefits of integrating gender considerations into emergency management
  • how local government can take gender into account in emergency management
  • useful resources and information.

It is part of the MAV’s gender and emergency management strategy which aims to reduce the negative consequences of gender-blind practices.

Evidence shows that the incidence of family violence increases post-disaster. Men are more likely to die in floods and bushfires than women, and men strongly influence family decisions to stay and defend homes during bushfires, sometimes with tragic results. To positively change such outcomes, the influence of gender roles and differences must be understood and addressed.

Our strategy will help councils to improve their understanding of gender differences and incorporate gender considerations into their emergency management policy, planning, decision-making and service delivery.

For further information please contact Martijn Gough on 03 9667 5540.

New registration form for use in relief centres

The Department of Human Services (DHS), the Red Cross and the MAV have worked together to develop a paper-based information sharing form to be used in emergency relief centres. This information sharing project follows a statement made in the Emergency Management White Paper. The aim of this form is to minimise the need for people affected by an emergency to provide the same information repeatedly.

The form, with multiple carbon copies, has been developed so that relief agencies can collect personal information from affected individuals, and has been tailored to capture appropriate information for each agency. The council copy is the first form on the pad, making it easily identifiable.

The form has been printed and will be distributed to councils, DHS regional officers and the Red Cross within the next fortnight. The form will be accompanied by a comprehensive operating guide, as well as a one-page reference guide for use in relief centres.

For further information please contact Clare Smith on 03 9667 5532.

Emergency Management Commissioner Designate announced

The Victorian Government has released a statement proposing that the current Fire Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley will take primary responsibility for emergencies as Victoria’s inaugural Emergency Management Commissioner Designate. The role of Emergency Management Commissioner is a key component of the reforms to emergency management in Victoria set out in last year’s White Paper. The necessary legislative changes will be considered by Parliament shortly.

During major emergencies, it is proposed that the Emergency Services Commissioner will take an overarching management role to ensure a systematic and coordinated response, as well as ensuring there is no duplication of roles.

The next step for Government will be to announce further details of the formation of a new agency, Emergency Management Victoria that will be the new umbrella body for Victoria’s emergency management sector and will maximise the ability of agencies to plan and work together. Additionally, the Government will also appoint an Inspector-General to work closely with the sector to improve its performance and encourage best practice, as well as a Volunteer Consultative Forum to ensure emergency management volunteers have their say.

Responding to shared responsibility

The Monash Injury Research Institute is holding a Disaster Resilience Forum, Responding to Shared Responsibility.

Shared responsibility is the common element in the proposed legislative changes and contemporary strategic documents, including the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, Hyogo Framework, Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission final report, Victorian Emergency Management White Paper, and Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response. They all emphasise the importance of informed communities sharing the responsibility for recognising, understanding and acting upon their own risks should a disaster strike.

The forum will be held from 9 am – 5 pm on 29 October at Monash University’s Clayton Campus. Speakers will explore a range of approaches from within the emergency management sector and from community ventures that offer new insights into what works successfully, and what doesn’t. Speakers will bring together a diverse range of research activities and case studies on ‘beyond risk communication and public education’ to examine how to engage the community to understand risk and to act upon it in the event of a disaster.

Location-based Emergency Alert test

Emergency Alert was a recommendation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The national telephone warning system used by emergency management agencies will send voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobile phones within a defined area about likely or actual emergencies such as fire, flood, or extreme weather events.

Live testing on location-based technology to all mobile phones regardless of network began on 18 August in selected areas across Victoria. Early indications show that these trials have been a success; one hundred and thirty thousand messages were sent out across the state with a 95 per cent delivery success rate.

The Australian Government has said that they are now very much on the road towards a fully integrated location-based Emergency Alert system with the capability, potentially, to reach all mobile phones in Australia. It is on track to introduce location-based alerts by the beginning of the 2013-14 summer season.

Further testing will take place with community-based trials across the country throughout October.

Career firefighter opportunities in mid-2014

The CFA is looking to recruit people who are community-minded, fit and after a challenging, rewarding and exciting career. Career firefighters work closely with local communities while also supporting volunteer firefighters. The mission of CFA members is to 'protect lives and property'. If you are interested in community interaction and achieving local results, then please follow the link to the CFA website for further information.

Applications will only be accepted until 4 pm on Friday 4 October.

CFA’s Fire Ready Kit

The CFA has developed a kit of bushfire preparedness information to help people get bushfire ready. The Fire Ready Kit has been designed to help people understand their risk, prepare their property and develop a Bushfire Survival Plan. To download the kit or to find out more please visit the CFA website.

CSIRO fire behaviour symposium

CSIRO Ecosystems Science, in partnership with the Bushfire CRC, ACT Parks and Conservation, ACT Rural Fire Service and NSW Rural Fire Service are holding a symposium to update the skills and knowledge of all fire and land management operational practitioners, from 14 - 16 October in Canberra.

The Fire Behaviour – The State of the Science symposium features leading Australian scientists and operational leaders alongside US and Canadian experts. The symposium will be ideal for fire and land management practitioners, particularly those involved in fire behaviour analysis.

Places are limited. If you wish to attend, please complete the registration form, or for more information contact Andrew Sullivan at CSIRO.

Advancing emergency communications in the digital age

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki Community is a voluntary initiative of the Gov2Qld initiative and was formed in 2011 to harness the learnings from the use of social media during the floods and Cyclone Yasi that hit Queensland in early 2011. Since then the community has grown and is now a global, online and collaborative community of professionals and organisations drawn from emergency services, government, NGOs, business, health, education and media.

The Wiki community has a vision of resilient communities, empowered to use social media in disasters and is actively working around the world to make this a reality. To help facilitate this, it has created the Wiki, a world-first free global resource for using social media in emergencies. It contains tips for citizens on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies; a global directory of contacts, smartphone apps and videos. It also has guidelines and resources for emergency agencies, government, health, education, NGOs, community groups and business.

Upcoming MAV events...

9 October

Fire Ready communications briefing

24 October

MAV annual conference

31 October

Local government legislative framework workshop


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