Strategic emergency management in Australia and New Zealand - discussion paper on implications of research

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Fire Weather
Risk Management
TitleStrategic emergency management in Australia and New Zealand - discussion paper on implications of research
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsOwen, C, Bosomworth, K, Bearman, C, Brooks, B
AbstractThe research conducted as part of the Organising for Effective Emergency Management project has been discussed with senior emergency management leaders to identify and discuss industry implications. Through this process seven challenges facing senior emergency management leaders have been identified. The purpose of this paper is to outline the challenges discussed and to raise questions for supporting strategic levels of emergency management in the future. Increases in the frequency, duration and magnitude of emergency events have placed significant challenges on the emergency services sector. Emergency events that are unprecedented in intensity and geographic spread and have significant impacts on communities are called “out of scale events”. In such events there are a range of emergency management activities performed by people working at operational, tactical and strategic levels. At an operational level, first responders are working directly on the front line of the fire or incident ground. At a tactical level, local incident management teams work at supporting front line responders in containing and mitigating the event and in enabling communities to make good decisions. At a strategic level (which may be regional state or national) there is a focus on two elements: oversight of incident management operations and consequence management for longer term recovery. Emergency managers operating at strategic (regional, state, national) levels face an increasingly complex set of future challenges that must be addressed. Strategic level emergency management is engaged in high-consequence, non-routine and out-of-scale emergency events. At this level there is high political engagement; longer term concerns for direct and indirect consequences on economical and societal well-being. The emphasis at a strategic emergency management level is on: (i) oversight of incident management operations and (ii) consequence management. Influencing these challenges are drivers such as climate change as well as other social, political and economic factors. The first five challenges discussed pertain to the contextual drivers influencing the emergency management sector and the last two are enablers internal to the sector. The challenges are: 1. Increased uncertainty, complexity and convergence 2. Disaster Risk Reduction and policy disconnects 3. Expectations and ‘resilience’ of communities 4. Social media, networking, and emergence 5. The political-operational nexus 6. Evaluating emergency management response effectiveness 7. Development and Capability The discussion paper will be used to continue consultation with key stakeholders on the research utilisation options that can be proposed to build a resilient emergency services sector to manage these future challenges.