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Community Emergency

Planning Guide

Our district has experienced numerous emergency
events over past years. Evidence from previous
emergencies has shown that communities that plan
and manage their own needs before, during and after
an emergency recover more quickly and suffer less
long term affects.

2 | Community Emergency Planning Guide

..... Discuss common actions and group them into themes. Establishing an Emergency Planning Group....... Define and Describe Your Local Community.. Practice activities as appropriate.............................. Establish a procedure for conducting a major review every 3 years....... Prioritising and Describing Community Emergencies............ Provide an appropriate version to households................................... Wellington Shire Council | 3 ............................................................................................................................................ 17 Establish a permanent and sustainable Community Emergency Group......................................................... Sustaining the Community Emergency Plan............ Municipal............ 4 The purpose of this guide How to use this guide Acknowledgments Emergency Planning – State..... Identify and discuss actions specific to a particular emergency............ 12-13 Identifying significant community emergencies Understanding consequences and identifying actions Step 4............. 9 Developing a Terms of Reference Engaging community members....... Local............ Developing Community Emergency Plans......................................... agencies.......... 10-11 Area Description Built Environment Social Environment Economic Environment Natural Environment Step 3. Appendix – Community Emergency Planning Workbook.. Discuss the themes and specific actions and decide which actions are most relevant and important.............................. Identifying.............................. Turning the Plan into action.............Content Introduction.................................... Authorise and support people or groups to undertake actions......... 14 Identify actions that are common to all emergencies...................................... 5-7 What are emergencies? Emergency management in Victoria Emergency management planning in the Wellington Shire Council Community emergency planning The benefits of planning for emergencies at a community level Do we need a community emergency plan? Developing a Community Emergency Plan................................................... 8-9 Step 1........................ and organisations Step 2........ 16 Promote and discuss the Community Emergency Plan... Establish a schedule for reviewing the Plan annually......................................... For all of the actions identified: • Decide who will be responsible for actions • Decide when each action needs to be completed • Decide if resources are required...............................

although it will also be useful in management consultants. emergency services and other community groups. The Guide at the Wellington Shire Council. Their participation and guidance How to use this Guide is greatly appreciated. project was undertaken by Wellington Shire Council In general the Guide is aimed at townships and and Steve Pascoe and Associates. to support local communities that want to take Feedback and comments on this document and the an active role in planning for. planning. This Guide is intended for local communities who This project was funded by a Natural Disaster identify that they are at risk from emergencies. PO Box 506. It also provides a structured process to during and after such events will ensure the best work through in conjunction with a workbook to outcomes for individuals. While significant emergency events will always This Guide provides background and context to involve government and non-government agencies. there is growing recognition of the importance of planning for emergencies at a local community level. coordinated and effective local emergency plan for their own community. Sale. community as a whole. 4 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . By the end of the planning process it is intended that The purpose of this Guide the community undertaking this work will have a set Wellington Shire Council has developed the of emergency and risk based plans to assist with Community Emergency Planning Guide (the Guide) significant and likely emergencies. decisions and actions. emergency smaller communities. Building relationships through the process of planning will be as important as the actual final product. provides information to support the development Victoria 3850. Feedback can recovering from significant emergencies which have be addressed to the Emergency Management Team the potential to impact on their community. in partnership with Wellington Shire Council. Sport/Golden Beach/ Paradise Beach communities and local agencies. households and the record information. planning for emergencies in larger communities. can develop a risk based. The own safety and wellbeing. of a Community Emergency Management Plan and it is intended that these locally produced plans will Acknowledgments complement Municipal Emergency Management This Guide is based on a pilot project led by the Loch Planning and other emergency and community plans. The written plan will provide an ongoing resource as well as provide the basis for reviewing emergency planning and preparedness. It is Resilience Grant administered through the Office provided to assist them to plan and prepare for their of the Emergency Services Commissioner. support and enable local community emergency the active participation of local communities before. responding to and process will always be appreciated. This document is developed with the intent that interested local people.Introduction Across Victoria.

• They are not part of day-to-day experience and are prevention. and www. etc. These arrangements are contained in Municipal Emergency Management Plans. response and recovery activities and outside normal life expectations. drought. are less hazards and risks and documentation of the multi- obvious. emergencies that have the defined as any event which has the potential to: potential to affect the municipal district. formal planning for Many emergencies are obvious.gov. regional floods and storms. heatwaves. Municipal councils are responsible for establishing This context does not include events which impact a Municipal Emergency Management Planning only single individuals or households. while others such as disease and municipal levels. built and natural environments.vic. Municipal emergency outbreaks. made up of representatives communities do respond to these within their normal. well as key support agencies. which are held and maintained by councils and are available to community members.gov. • Require external support to manage or recover from. • Disrupt the community for some time. The EMMV describes emergency planning. and/or to discuss and better understand their roles. allocates roles and responsibilities to government and non-government agencies and organisations. Part 7 of the EMMV provides lists of emergencies • They can be of sudden or slow onset. and/ the Emergency Management Act 1986 and guided or destroys or damages property or the natural by the Emergency Management Manual Victoria environment. agency arrangements for the prevention of. • They have a wide range of effects and impacts on Emergency Management Manual Victoria the human. Wellington Shire Council | 5 . non-government agencies and community. loss of management planning includes the identification of essential services. The municipal emergency planning process provides • Threaten the sustainability or viability of the the forum for emergency agencies and organisations community. Municipal and Local What are emergencies? Emergency Management in Victoria An emergency is any event which threatens or Emergency Management in Victoria is prescribed by impacts the safety or health of people. emergency services. such as bushfires. (EMMV). response In a local community context. • They are unpredictable in occurrence and effects.vic. and recovery from. however many Committee (MEMPC). from council.au • There are complex needs in dealing with the impact.au • They are disruptive to individuals and communities. Under these arrangements. resources and capabilities.oesc. anticipated in Victoria and identifies the control • They require a response for which normal local agency responsible for managing each emergency as resources may be inadequate. government and day-to-day community support networks. responsibilities. The MEMPC is responsible for planning for emergencies which affect the broader municipal community.Emergency planning – State. Emergencies are characterised by some or all of the Emergency Management Act following: www.oesc. emergency management occurs at state. an emergency might be to. agricultural or industrial disasters.

vic. • Contains all legislatively required information such • Strengthening local organisations and people. municipal emergency planners. that communities that plan and manage their own skills. Municipal and Local Continued Emergency management planning in • They have access to community resources. Places – Places of Last Resort. infrastructure and economy. emergencies. This is because the process develops community resilience by strengthening the ability of • Ability to access expertise and attract support and the community to establish collaborative relationships resources. Wellington Shire • They have established communications networks The Wellington Municipal Emergency Management and systems. Evidence from previous emergencies has shown • Identification and strengthening of local resources. 6 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . • Enabling communication with. other organisations and the community • They can be proactive in emergency prevention within Wellington Shire. • Effective identification and understanding of local • Defines the roles of organisations in relation to hazards and risks. • They have excellent understanding of the local natural environment. as municipal resources and Neighbourhood Safer • Utilising local knowledge. respond to. prepare Planning for emergencies at the local community level for. and leadership.wellington. networks and resources. historic and cultural values. community members. needs before. and support from Wellington MEMPlan external agencies. • They are able to identify. • Identifies emergencies that have the potential to The benefits of planning for emergencies impact communities within the Wellington Shire. during and after an emergency • Building community resilience to a range of adverse recover more quickly and suffer less long term events. be managed.au • Developing support arrangements for vulnerable Community emergency planning. talents. • Development of local arrangements before an • Records the commitment of all participating emergency occurs. services. and • Reduction in the impacts of emergencies. link with and support vulnerable community members. at a community level • Identifies the steps to be taken to prevent. www. • They have excellent local knowledge of geography. and • Provides risk specific response and recovery plans • They will be the ‘first responders’ following any for the municipality. • They are able to develop and manage local triggers The Wellington MEMPlan: for action. on how emergency risks will and preparedness. Plan (MEMPlan) provides information to emergency • They can identify local skills and limitations.Emergency planning – State. affects.gov. and between individuals and groups to achieve common • Ability to provide valuable local information to objectives. emergency. agencies and groups in the process. and recover from emergency can have many benefits including: events. Local communities are well placed to contribute to the management of emergencies which impact their area: • They have historical knowledge of emergencies in their area.

emergency management plan it is worthwhile asking: people work together with “Are emergencies a problem for our local local leaders using their community?” If community members do not see emergencies as knowledge and resources a real threat. Planning within a properly auspiced subcommittee will provide participants with appropriate help. Wellington Shire Council | 7 .. National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.wellington.Do we need a Community Emergency A disaster resilient Plan? Before undertaking the development of a local community is one where. It is strongly recommended that local emergency management planning be undertaken by a sub- committee auspiced by an incorporated community group such as a Community Representative Group.au. emergency threats. Wellington Shire Council website www.vic. and existing Page 5. Progress or Ratepayers Association. support and protection. If you want to proceed make contact with Wellington Shire Council’s Emergency Management Team to discuss options and opportunities.gov. They use Activity: personal and community Take a look at the characteristics of emergencies on strengths. It is important that the emergency planning process involves the broader community and has an appropriate level of credibility and recognition. What local emergency events might fit these definitions? community networks and Consider: structures. it will be difficult to enlist the necessary to prepare for and deal enthusiasm and support for the development of a Community Emergency Plan. then it is likely that your community would benefit from the development of a Community Emergency Management Plan. a resilient Is there a history of emergencies in this area? community is enabled by Are there new or emerging threats/hazards? strong social networks that What events are likely to require the intervention and support from external offer support to individuals agencies? and families in a time of What events might have a long term impact on our community? crisis. as well as ensuring effective maintenance and sustainability of plans.. If you have identified one or a number of potential Page 5. with disasters.

agencies. • Discuss these common actions and group them For all of the actions identified: • Decide who (person or group) will be responsible for actions. community. Economic Environment. Social Environment. Developing Community Emergency Plans • Identify the actions that are common to all emergencies. Identify. • Decide when each action needs to be • Identify and discuss those actions which are completed by. Built Environment. specific to a particular emergency. into themes. community. decide which Actions are most relevant and • Inform and promote within the community important. 8 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . Define and Describe Your Local Community Area Description. and organisations Step 2. • Identify actions to manage the • Identify actions to manage the • Identify actions to manage the • Identify actions to manage the emergency emergency emergency emergency Step 4. Establish Emergency Planning Group • Terms of Reference • Engaging community members. community. Natural Environment Step 3. • Decide if resources are required and identify how • Discuss the themes and specific actions and these will be organised.Developing a Community Emergency Action Plan Community Emergency Action Plan Flow Chart Step 1. Prioritise and Describe Community Emergencies Identify significant community emergencies Understanding consequences and identifying actions Emergency 1 Emergency 2 Emergency 3 Emergency 4 • Engage with relevant agencies • Engage with relevant agencies • Engage with relevant agencies • Engage with relevant agencies to learn more about this to learn more about this to learn more about this to learn more about this emergency emergency emergency emergency • Describe this potential • Describe this potential • Describe this potential • Describe this potential emergency emergency emergency emergency • Understand the impact • Understand the impact • Understand the impact • Understand the impact of the emergency and of the emergency and of the emergency and of the emergency and consequences for the consequences for the consequences for the consequences for the community.

• Are you seeking data or information? • Are you providing information? • Are you seeking feedback? Step 1 – Getting Started Identified that emergencies are an issue for your community? Contacted Wellington Shire Council Emergency Management Team? Emergency Planning Group formed with appropriate membership? Emergency Planning Group properly auspiced under an existing community group? Identified need for professional support and funding source if appropriate? Terms of Reference developed and approved by auspicing body? Communicated the emergency planning purpose and process to the community? Wellington Shire Council | 9 . - local emergency service representatives This is important in order to gather information. Developing a local emergency management plan scope. Fire Ready Community Grants • Word of mouth. Department of Planning and Community • Surveys. structures/networks.wellington. The Emergency Planning Group could be made up of Engaging community members. It is important that the Emergency Planning Group A suggested draft Terms of Reference is provided at include people who have broad experience and a Appendix A of the Community Emergency Planning genuine interest in the wellbeing of their community. agencies representatives from: and organisations - the host (auspice) group / organisation While a small planning group is most effective. Possible sources of funding and support • Community meetings.vic.vic. www.gov. roles and responsibilities of will be most easily accomplished by assembling an the Emergency Planning Group along with detailed Emergency Planning Group to undertake the work. SMS groups. Development • Community websites. enabling them to concentrate on the planning process. Workbook.Step 1.au aiming for.dpcd. • Updates in local newspapers/community Wellington Shire Council’s Emergency Management newsletters Team will be able to advise on the availability of any • Accessing community groups through their existing support to assist the working group.gov. door knocks and informal networks. communication and understanding. It is will provide clarity of purpose and should be approved suggested that 6 -10 people would be an effective by the auspice group or organisation to enhance working group.au and Wellington Shire Council • Telephone trees. A Terms of Reference provide leadership and oversee implementation. Consideration should be given to engaging A range of engagement options can be used administrative support or an Executive Officer. Establishing an Emergency Developing a Terms of Reference Planning Group A Terms of Reference describes the purpose. membership. This will (dependant on the size of the community) such as: reduce the work load of the planning group members. ensure that the final result is collaborative and there is broad - community group representatives ownership of the plan within the community. Community Assistance Grants The method/s you choose will depend on what you are www. it is important to ensure that all community members have - interested local residents the opportunity to be involved in the planning process. administrative arrangements.

Built Environment Describe the important built elements of your Built Environment community. A • Include a map of the area.censusdata. bridges. might have information on natural assets. climate) that might influence Communities are complex and many things emergencies? contribute to their wellbeing and sustainability. significant and important for your community in • Are there any significant or exceptional geographic emergency management planning. rail. schools. www.fixed line and mobile networks. etc to ongoing viability of the community ? • Are there any cultural or historically important Social Environment buildings or structures? Health • What buildings or structures might be important Social networks and connectedness during or after an emergency? Cultural – heritage assets Describe transport that can be used to access your Vulnerable individuals community (including all options. features (topography. air.au/about-dse/interactive-maps 10 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . www. - Water Essential services . Parks Victoria and local Landcare and/or Conservation groups.vic. water. useful model for describing communities is the Four Environments of Community model.community. rail. Economic Environment etc) Employment and income • Is access limited? Might it be impeded by an Tourism emergency event? Agriculture • Are there alternative transport options that could be Manufacturing used in an emergency event? Retailing Are there any specific issues in the built environment Natural Environment of this community that need to be considered when Land.Step 2.au/ Department of Environment and Sustainability.power. and waterways planning for emergencies? Flora and fauna Once you have identified the infrastructure that Landscapes is important to your community list the address.au Additional information can be sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics www. business.gov.hospitals. gas - Communications Transport .dse.gov. water. air. domestic • What and where are essential service facilities? Utilities . Buildings . air - Power Communications .abs. public • Are there any buildings or structures that are critical buildings. owner and contact details and any other relevant details in Workbook: Part 2 Help with community information Local Community Plans are available on the Wellington Shire Council website and provide social and economic information. administrative.wellington. Defining and Describing Your ACTIVITY (see Workbook Part 2) Local Community Area Description It is important to define and describe your local Briefly describe and record the geographic features community as a means of identifying what is and boundaries of your community.vic.gov. road.roads.

list the address. owner and contact details and any other relevant details in Workbook: Part 2 Step 2 – Define and describe your community Described the geography and boundaries of the area. any specific issues? Identified important business and industry? Identified important natural features? Recorded the information in Work Book Part: 2 – Community Description. Wellington Shire Council | 11 . water and other transport links? Described the area’s population – How many. any other relevant details in Workbook: Part 2 list the organisations and contact details and any other relevant details in Workbook: Part 2. Economic Environment Describe and record the economic features of your community • How and where do people earn their income? • What business/industry operate in this community? • How important are the businesses to this community? • Are there any specific issues in the economic environment of this community that need to be considered when planning for emergencies? Once you have identified the businesses that are important to your community. where.Social Environment Natural environment Describe and record the social elements of your Describe and record the natural features of your community. vulnerable people. community. rail. including a map? Identified and described important community buildings? Identified and described essential services? Described road. • How many people live here? • Are there any natural features important or critical • What is the age distribution? to this community? • Where do people live in this area? - waterways • Are there people who need extra support in their - landscapes daily lives? - bushland or forest • Are there any social issues critical to this - rare or threatened animals or plants? community? • Are there any specific issues in the natural • Are there any specific issues in the social environment of this community that need to be environment of this community that need to be considered when planning for emergencies? considered when planning for emergencies? Once you have identified the natural features that Once you have identified the social elements and are important to your community. list them and networks that are important to your community.

major Working on one emergency at a time starting with the injuries or medical emergencies). and ACTIVITY • Discuss what could be the consequences for your View the emergency risk list in the Wellington community if this event occurs? (consider the Four Municipal Emergency Management Plan. where and how this agricultural disease outbreaks. have a significant impact on your community? • Describing when.au Help with identifying emergencies The Emergency Management Manual Victoria: Part 7 identifies specific agencies responsible for managing different emergencies. Emergency Management Manual Victoria. who will put you in touch with the relevant people.Step 3. • Which of these events could threaten the wellbeing or sustainability of your community? • Identifying what is currently being done to manage the priority emergencies.refer to Step 2). Prioritise and Describe Using this list. community emergencies. This is a Community Environments . or contact year such as bushfires and floods. where and how these prioritsed • Which of these emergency events would require emergencies might impact your community. Identify. for advice). local communities. pose a significant threat to your community. such as epidemics. outside help for your community to cope with and recover from? • Describing the consequences to your community if these emergencies occur. organisation with responsibility for managing the emergency. when developing emergency event you believe is most likely to impact a community emergency plan. and Once you have a list of likely emergencies.gov. house fires. Identifying and prioritising community Understanding the impact and consequences of emergencies. 12 | Community Emergency Planning Guide .vic. list of emergencies that the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee recognise as possible within the municipal area. Wellington MEMPlan www. (Consult the EMMV Part 7 Emergency Some are obvious and might be possible every Management Manual Victoria). Contact them directly or contact Wellington Shire Council. emergency might impact on your community. Others are less Emergency Management Team at the Wellington obvious but might have devastating impacts on Shire Council. Most of the agencies will have regional offices that can provide information on emergencies.wellington. • Identifying what your community can do to manage discuss and prioritise the emergency events that the consequence of emergency events. tsunamis or • Discuss and record when. This step helps you work through: • Are there other emergencies that you think could • Identifying and prioritising community emergencies. emphasis should your community: be placed on those emergencies or events which could threaten the wellbeing or sustainability of your • Identify and engage with the agency or community. Emergency Management Team. identify emergency events that might Community Emergencies impact your community. While there are many events which can be considered ACTIVITY emergencies (eg car crashes.

The impact of emergencies on communities and people’s safety and wellbeing can be managed: • Before an emergency . during and after)? Record the outcomes of your discussion in Workbook Part 3 Step 3 . • During an emergency . during and after)? • What actions can your community take to manage the potential consequences of this emergency (before. short and longer term needs of the emergency affected community.Record the outcomes of your discussion in Workbook Part 3 Identifying actions to manage the emergency.managing the emergency event and protecting people and assets. managing the impacts on people and preparing emergency services and communities. • After the emergency .providing for the immediate.preventing the emergency from occurring.Identify. Prioritise and Describe Community Emergencies Identified priority emergencies? Engaged the appropriate agencies? Discussed and recorded the impact and consequences of emergencies? Identified what is currently being done to manage emergencies? Identified what additional actions your community can undertake? Recorded the outcomes of your discussion in Workbook Part 3? Wellington Shire Council | 13 . ACTIVITY With the responsible agency. discuss: • What is currently being done by all stakeholders to manage this emergency (before.

Complete the Community Emergency Plan (Work Book Part 4) Step 4 . ACTIVITY Consider the outcomes of the last activity (Step 3): What actions can your community take to manage the consequences of the emergency (before. and • Decide what resources are required and identify how these will be organised. realistic and achievable? Identified persons or groups responsible for each action? Identified appropriate completion time? Identified resources required? Completed the Community Emergency Plan Work Book Part 4 14 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . Add the Themes and Actions to Workbook (Part 4) For all of the actions identified: • Decide who (person or group) will be responsible for actions. They must be realistic and achievable. • Identify and discuss those actions which are specific to a particular emergency.Step 4: Developing Community Emergency Plan While emergency services have prescribed roles and responsibilities to manage emergency events. and • Discuss the themes and specific actions and decide which actions are most relevant and important. during and after)? Considering the community actions across the priority emergencies: • Identify the actions that are common to all priority emergencies. there are many things that communities can do themselves which will reduce the consequences of the emergency on their community. Discuss these common actions and group them into ‘Themes’. • Decide when each action must be completed by.Developing the Community Emergency Plan Grouped common actions into themes? Identified actions specific to priority emergencies? Ensured that actions are relevant and important.

Developing networks with key agencies to identify and research possible hazards which may impact your community is essential to successful community emergency planning. Wellington Shire Council | 15 .

and • Providing ongoing monitoring to ensure that actions are actually completed. households. emergency these actions. • Present and discuss the plan with the Wellington Alternatively a community exercise. it will be important to practice or exercise between the Emergency Planning Group. Supervise and support people or groups to undertake actions To ensure that the Plan actions are undertaken successfully. in consultation Municipal Emergency Management Planning with the Wellington Shire Council Emergency Committee. • Providing appropriate supervision and support to those undertaking the tasks. • Present and discuss the plan with the auspicing organisation. identify need for resources and source. and effort to organise and might be undertaken annually • Provide relevant information to residents / or biannually. the Community Emergency Planning Group will provide a coordination role by: • Allocating tasks. providing community services. and could be undertaken regularly. households and individuals. such as activating a communication network. These activities will be most effective if they are practised. • Add the Community Emergency Plan to the community members and organisations. activities though local newsletters and community A practice might involve a small number of people networks. Exercises community/Council website. might involve emergency services. • Receiving feedback on tasks. A practice might be simple and for just one specific • Promote the planning process and proposed action. information establishing a community resource community groups. Exercises can require significant promote/instigate key community actions. Impediments and difficulties will be Promote and discuss the Community Emergency identified during practices providing opportunities to Plan continuously improve processes. • Seeking funding and resources as required. For example.Turning the Plan into action Once the Community Emergency Plans (the Plan) are Practice activities as appropriate developed. Wellington Shire Council. database. 16 | Community Emergency Planning Guide . Where there are important community activities Effective implementation will require cooperation identified. checking that proposed actions actually work and • Organise community meetings and events to testing coordination. are very useful in understanding each other’s roles. Management term. agencies. it is important to actually implement them.

Utilising this planning Guide for the major annually. The original Terms of Reference can be reworded • Does our list of priorities need to be updated? to reflect the differences between the Community • Have the tasks in the Community Emergency Plan Emergency Group and the Emergency Planning been completed? Group . monitored and reviewed. Others will not be completed or might be ongoing. Wellington Shire Council | 17 . practiced. • Ensure that the actions and preparedness plans are appropriate and up-to-date. • Updating contact details? four times a year would be adequate. • What still needs to be done? The Community Emergency Group will meet less • What is required to make these happen? regularly than the Emergency Planning Group. with new or interested which might affect the consequences of an community members involved in the ongoing emergency? implementation of the Community Action Plan. it is emergency. emergency is imminent or following the impact of an While annual reviews will maintain the plan. considered such as: It is essential that an ongoing Community Emergency • Are the community emergencies identified still Group is in place to ensure the community relevant? emergency plan is implemented.Ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of Community Emergency Plan Establish a permanent and sustainable A range of additional factors should also be Community Emergency Group. The Community Establish a procedure for conducting a thorough Emergency Group should also meet when an review every 3 years. reported on and closed. Some • Ensure that the emergencies and community risks actions will be completed in the first year and can be are updated in a consistent manner. review will: It is essential that the Plan is reviewed annually. important that a major review is conducted every Establish a schedule for reviewing the Plan three years. Two . • Have any new emergencies emerged in the past 12 months? This group should be made up of members of the • Has anything significant changed in our community Emergency Planning Group.

Notes 18 | Community Emergency Planning Guide .

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wellington. Street.Wellington Shire Council Wellington Shire Council 18 Desailly 70 Foster Street.wellington.Sale Victoria Victoria 38503850 Phone 1300 366 Phone: 1300 366 244244 Web www.gov.vic.vic.gov. Sale.au .au Web: www.