In this issue:                                                                     February 2015

Council emergency management collaborations forum
Changes to VicEmergency website
Relief and recovery communications resources
Online Tsunami Guide released
Berry Street report released
Your Guide to Power Outages
City of Melbourne open data program

Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service renamed
Private bushfire bunkers
Transitioning Emergency Management Forum
Critical Infrastructure Conference
IGEM review into planned burns and release of Annual Review Plan

Council emergency management collaborations forum

Over the past few years several groups of neighbouring councils have channelled significant effort into developing shared arrangements, and greater consistency in their approach to emergency management.

This month the MAV held a municipal emergency management collaboration forum attended by representatives from eight collaborations, as well as Emergency Management Victoria, Local Government Victoria, Victoria Police, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The forum provided participants with an overview of the various approaches to collaboration emerging across the state. A number of challenges and opportunities were raised and the MAV will work with the State and councils over the coming months to address these, and look at ways that collaborations can best be supported into the future.

A forum report will soon be available on the MAV website. For more information, contact Emma Lake.

Changes to VicEmergency website

VicEmergency is Victoria’s primary site for emergency warnings and shows emergency incidents on a real-time Google Map display. The site has been running since early 2014. Changes have recently been made to the site including coloured warning areas and incident perimeters, which provide a better visual representation of an emergency happening in an area.

SES warnings and health alerts will now show as coloured warning areas on the map, similar to fire. The warning area is a visual representation of the area to which an alert is relevant. It is created to highlight the predicted area that will be affected at the time the warning is issued. The colours reflect the difference in warnings. Yellow is for Advice, orange for Watch and Act, red for Emergency Warnings and black with a red outline for Evacuations.

Other changes include:

  • New incident icons - these have been focus group tested to provide a more clear, visual representation of the type of incident occurring
  • A ‘community update’ can be included to provide newsletter type information tailored for communities affected by an emergency
  • Improvements in visual accessibility in line with Vision Australia recommendations.

Relief and recovery communications resources

To assist with the provision of clear communication with the community, councils can download the following resources from Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria:

  • The Community Information extract from the Emergency Relief Handbook on how to plan and activate local communication and community engagement in an emergency
  • The entire Emergency Relief Handbook, produced by the Victorian Government and Australian Red Cross. This is designed to help all agencies and organisations involved in emergency relief to provide the best possible service to Victorians in need, both during and after a disaster.

Councils may also consider adding a web tile for the Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria website to help website visitors easily access the latest information.

Online Tsunami Guide released

Surf Life Saving Australia, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, has developed an online resource – Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide.

On average, Australia experiences the effects of tsunamis every four years. Typically, these effects manifest as rips, waves, and strong currents.

The online guide is free and covers practical information about preparation, warning systems, and the different types of tsunami effects.

Berry Street report released

The youth development and advocacy organisation Berry Street has released On the Frontline in Emergencies: a guide for communities and community services organisations.

The guide has been developed from Berry Street’s work in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires. It seeks to assist in each phase of an emergency event.

It does not intend to provide comprehensive advice for all emergencies or issues, but instead aims to act as a prompt, and checklist for issues that are likely to emerge following an emergency.

Your Guide to Power Outages

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) has developed a set of resources called Your Guide to Power Outages. The resources include a set of brochures and a webpage.

The aim of the program is to ensure that Victorians are aware of, and prepared for, power outages during extreme weather events. The resources are intended to help councils (as well as other organisations) easily promote key messages during extreme events such as heatwaves and fire.

DEDJTR has asked councils to assist by placing the information on websites or intranets, and in newsletters, social media, and publications. News copy and key messages are available via the MAV e-library.

Brochures are available from Georgina Waters, or by calling 9092 1885.

City of Melbourne open data program

The City of Melbourne recently began publicly publishing data on humidity, temperature and light in the city. The data has been gathered over three months and will continue to be collected. The council will use the information to inform planning decisions to promote canopy cover in the city.

This is a leading project in Australia, with Melbourne being the only capital city to provide this scale of data publicly for no charge.

The data will be useful in mitigating the effects of heatwaves in the city.

Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service renamed

It has been well documented that family violence can increase following an emergency or during a protracted emergency event.

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre is the new name for the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Victoria's 24-hour family violence crisis service.

The service still provides a free, confidential 24-hour phone line and the same range of services: 24-hour family violence response; safety planning; safe house accommodation; refuge accommodation; outreach services; and information.

You can email Safe Steps Family Violence Response, or call 1800 015 188, or call administration on (03) 9928 9600.

Private bushfire bunkers

Last year's amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions, regarding changes to the Bushfire Management Overlay include a new condition for private bushfire bunkers and their use to offset construction levels.

The CFA has developed information for communities regarding private bushfire bunkers. However, bushfire bunkers should be a place of last resort in a fire emergency.

Transitioning Emergency Management Forum

The Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative is hosting a forum which will discuss the changing emergency management sector in Victoria.

Speakers at the forum will discuss the new direction for the Australian Emergency Management Institute, and will focus on the key elements of resilience and recovery.

The forum will also look at the process of professionalising the EM industry and workforce.

Registrations can be made online.

Critical Infrastructure Conference

The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department will be hosting a Critical Infrastructure Conference in Sydney on 21 – 22 May.

The conference aims to help develop and maintain an effective business government partnership with owners and operators, and enhance the resilience of Australia's critical infrastructure.

To register for the conference, or for further information email

IGEM review into planned burns and release of Annual Review Plan

The Inspector-General of Emergency Management (IGEM) has been asked to conduct a review into the performance targets for future bushfire fuel management on public land.

The review will primarily focus on a risk-based approach to bushfire fuel management against the existing program of hectare-based performance targets. The findings of the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor and the reports of the Expert Reference Group-Bushfire Management Reform Program will also inform the review.

Submissions to the review are open until 13 March.

The IGEM has also published its Annual Forward Plan of Reviews. The plan has been developed in consultation with the emergency management sector and focuses on strategic, emergency management-related systemic issues of significance to all Victorians.

IGEM will conduct three planned reviews in 2015:

  • Review 1: Connecting with and preparing communities for major emergencies in Victoria
  • Review 2: Victoria’s emergency management sector preparedness for major emergencies
  • Review 3: Community recovery following the 2013–14 Victorian bushfires.
Upcoming MAV events...

2 March

Deepening community for a collective impact

5 March

Managing built form workshop – rural and regional residential development

11 March

Municipal emergency management enhancement group strategic planning day


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