In this issue:                                                                    August, 2013

New registration form for use in relief centres
Resilient Community Program
Emergency management planning for caravan park owners
National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework
Fire Ready app and Resilient Communities module
Assessing toxic emissions at the rural/urban interface
Establishment of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Minister warns of spring flood threat
Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Executive Consequence Management Program

New registration form for use in relief centres

The MAV is working with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Red Cross to establish a paper-based information sharing process to be used in emergency relief centres. The purpose of the project is to minimise the need for people affected by an emergency to provide the same information repeatedly. It aims to reduce stress for the individual and save time for each agency and municipality, as they will no longer be required to collect information that has previously been recorded.

The information sharing project in relief centres follows a statement made in the Emergency Management White Paper that a more coordinated approach to outreach, where agencies share information as appropriate, could be achieved through the use of a single registration form in relief centres.

A paper form with multiple carbon copies has been developed for relief agencies to collect personal information from affected individuals. The form has been tailored to capture appropriate information for each agency, and has been piloted in a relief centre exercise with Bayside City Council and multi-council exercises in Bairnsdale and Morwell.

Councils, the Red Cross and DHS staff involved in the pilots reported that they found the form an improvement on the previous arrangements. As a result, it will be rolled out in time for the 2013-14 summer season. Councils, DHS and Red Cross regional offices can expect to receive copies of the form to replace existing agency forms shortly.

For further information contact Clare Smith.

Resilient Community Program

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan has announced a $1.5 million Resilient Community Program. The program is designed to support communities across Victoria build their capability to prepare for, withstand and recover from all types of emergencies. This program replaces the Government’s Fire Ready Communities Grants program and is funded under the Regional Growth Fund.

Local councils, community groups and business associations are eligible for grants of up to $110 000 for community-led projects to increase shared responsibility between these groups for managing all hazards - from bushfires to floods and storm surges.

The Resilient Community Program may fund:

  • pilot community-led projects in high-risk communities to establish shared responsibility for all hazards
  • education and engagement activities – to help the community understand risks and take an active role in emergency management
  • community-led local risk and hazard workshops
  • activities that promote community leadership development and support emerging leaders to assist building resilience in communities.

The Resilient Community Program provides funding for activities across 48 rural and regional municipalities, along with Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Knox, Manningham, Melton, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges councils.

The first round of applications opened on 26 August and close on 7 October. The second round will open early in 2014 and future rounds of the program will be confirmed in 2014.

Emergency management planning for caravan park owners

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES), along with partner agencies, has developed an all hazards emergency management plan template for caravan park owners. The template has been designed to meet the Residential Tenancies (Caravan Parks and Movable Dwellings Registration and Standards) Regulations 2010. Three separate versions of the template have been made available to suit the needs of different caravan park owners/operators. These include:

  • Online tool: users are guided step-by-step through the requirements of the plan. Hyperlinks and support documents are available to download throughout the tool. Once users have completed all the required sections they will be able to print off the final document. Users are also able to log in and change details in their plan at any time.
  • Microsoft Word tool: users can type the required information into a word document template before printing the final document.
  • Hard copy tool: this can be printed or mailed to users and filled in manually.

All of these versions are located on the SES website.

SES is available to run workshops throughout Victoria to assist caravan park owners/operators to write an emergency management plan using one of the provided templates. If you would like to register your interest please contact Sally Lowenstein on 03 9256 9049.

National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework

The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework was approved at the Standing Council of Police and Emergency Management meeting on 4 - 5 July.

Designed specifically for the emergency management sector, the framework offers a practical approach to community engagement—placing community at the centre of the process. It is available for download as Handbook 6 of the Australian Emergency Management Handbook Series.

Additionally, the Australian Emergency Management Institute, through their knowledge hub, is collecting case studies that support the community engagement approach outlined in the Framework. These case studies will be added to their case study library. Please contact the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub if you are interested.

Fire Ready app and Resilient Communities module

The Fire Services Commissioner has released a Resilient Communities Progress Update. The Resilient Communities project follows the recommendations of the Emergency Management White Paper and will include a new FireReady mobile application and an all-emergencies website. It is the first module of the Victorian Information Network for Emergencies (VINE) Program.

The revamped FireReady app will build on the original app’s core functions and have improved capacity to perform efficiently, particularly during emergencies. Particular attention has been paid to the underlying technical architecture to ensure that the app will perform when placed under extreme demand.

Design work for the app's critical functions is approaching completion and a sample of the Victorian community has been used to test paper-based screen designs to ensure that they are intuitive and easy to use before development work commences. The application is on track to be completed in time for the 2013-14 summer fire season.

The new website will become a clear, single source for all warnings and information before, during and after an emergency across all Victorian emergency agencies. This is intended to occur in a phased approach.

For further information contact Darryl Obelt at the Fire Services Commissioner’s office.

Assessing toxic emissions at the rural/urban interface

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has released a Fire Note, Assessing toxic emissions at the rural/urban interface. This Fire Note outlines research assisting fire agencies to gain a better understanding of potentially toxic emissions and their exposure concentrations at fires in the rural/urban interface.

It also outlines the emission products released in smoke from rural/urban interface fires and what this means. The materials burnt during the study are commonly present in a house or surrounds, but the current knowledge on their combustion is limited. A better understanding of the type and concentrations of potentially toxic gases and particles released during a fire will help assess exposure risks to fire fighters and communities at the rural/urban interface.

Establishment of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

The Bushfire CRC’s funding expired in June. While the Bushfire CRC completes its current research program, a new cooperative research centre with an expanded focus into other hazards including flood, earthquake, cyclone and tsunami is being established. The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC newsletter provides an update on the establishment phase including:

  • legal agreements
  • new staff
  • research still taking shape
  • sharing with Bushfire CRC
  • branding – a new logo, a new website.

Minister warns of spring flood threat

The SES has warned that Victoria is already ‘saturated like a wet sponge’ and more rain is on the way. The Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Kim Wells has warned Victorian communities to be prepared for an increased risk of flooding this spring. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a wetter than normal July-September season for Victoria, with the likelihood of rainfall exceeding the long-term average over much of the state. In addition, this rain may fall over an area where reservoirs are already full to at least 70 per cent capacity.

The rainfall totals for June were above average in parts of Gippsland and Central Victoria, as well as the Wimmera and Mallee districts.

Australian Journal of Emergency Management

The latest volume of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM) is now available. This volume includes articles on current research as well as peer reviewed papers and information for the emergency management sector.

Executive Consequence Management Program

The Fire Services Commissioner, in partnership with the Barrington Group, runs the Executive Consequence Management (ECM) Program. Now in its second year, two more programs remain for 2013 and another five are set for 2014.

The program is designed for Regional Directors and Regional Managers of Emergency Management agencies, government departments, non-government organisations, the private sector, and council CEOs in Victoria.

It aims to increase participants’ ability to make better and more informed decisions during major emergencies, and to reduce the impact of major emergencies on communities in the future. This includes increasing the management capability of executives, equipping them to work collaboratively in major emergencies, and to better manage the political, social and human aspects of their role.

The ECM provides the fundamental resource of collaboration and increased capability in emergency management. The key outcomes for the program are:

  • the opportunity to establish a coalition
  • direct dialogue with the community
  • the opportunity to learn from people both within and outside the emergency management sector, and
  • introduction of strategic leadership into your daily roles.

The program includes a range of guest speakers from the public, private and government sectors, including the Fire Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley, and Chair of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Justice Bernard Teague.

For more information on the program, please call Barrington Centre on 1300 857 363 or the Fire Services Commission on 03 8684 1380.

Upcoming MAV events...

6 September

Modernising LG service delivery

20 September

MEMEG forum

15 October

Policy making in a multi-polar world


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