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Community Disaster Recovery Plan Editing Services
According to The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (2011) disaster can be defined as serious disruption in community life causing death or serious injuries. Emergency can be defined as real or anticipated scenario which requires immediate coordination of action [ CITATION Mac161 \l 1033 ]. Emergency management is associated with process of preparing for or responding toward mitigating emergency or disastrous scenario. A disaster management plan is a document that includes foresight of risk management and countermeasures to overcome the same.
Purpose of this report
This is a disaster management plan prepared on a hypothetical scenario of community emergency. It is prepared by emergency manager to provide a brief on recovery phase. This paper includes brief introduction of scenario, principle of recovery management, its strategies, recommendations and evaluation plan.
Overview of the community in question
Community that suffers most due to bushfire includes Beechworth, Bendigo, Bunyip, Churchill, Horsham, Kinglake, Narre Warren, Redesdale, and Upper Ferntree Gully [ CITATION kno09 \l 1033 ]. There has been use of fire for complex land management tools by aboriginal community, there had been use of fire intensity and heat to burn grass and bush and promote growth. Though fire has also favoured survival and spread of fire resistant plant but scenario has also started to change as uncontrolled burning has become major threat to people life and public property. This caused intervention by government and restricts the use of fire to minimum as agricultural tool.
Background of the issue
This paper is based on bushfire in few regions of Victoria. A series of bushfire occurred in few regions of Victoria killing more than 173 people and more than 400 were injured; it also caused destruction of several homes in Victorian region [ CITATION Ste09 \l 1033 ]. It is caused by high recording heat wave with gale force winds. Further, fire was extended due to changes in the direction of wind and faulty power pole that caused fire spread in forest causing more than 100 deaths [ CITATION www09 \l 1033 ].
Aftermath of the fire
This deadly fire has caused extreme weather conditions, it caused severe drought in the region and tinder dry vegetation. There has been huge loss to personal properties, loss of families, home and properties. There has been rise of suicide among bushfire survivors, alcohol and drug abuse also enhanced which shows strong psychological impact on the bushfire survivors. Fire caused numerous loss of life and injuries, more than 3500 buildings burned, and death of animals. This caused government interventions and preparation of bushfire polices.
Disaster management plans needs to ensure preparedness, prevention and response toward emergency scenarios. National Principles for Disaster Recovery (COAG 2011) presented components of effective disaster management, it must include proper community understanding, and understanding complexity of emergency scenario, adopting community led approaches, planned approach, proper communication and implementation
[ CITATION Aus18 \l 1033 ]
Seven principles incontextof bushfire disaster management plan are discussed below;
Understanding the context
First element of planning for recovery is community analysis, by understanding their past, present, values and beliefs; proper consideration towards culture, recognising long term sustainability. State of Victoria has long history of bushfire, it happens almost every year. Various contributing factors to this scenario include fire dependent eucalypt forests in the region, existence of extreme weather conditions. Victoria is second most populated region in Australia, with population of 6.26 million by year 2018. Language other than English includes Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese. There is presence of ageing population with average age falling between 42-45 [ CITATION www1639 \l 1033 ].
Climate is another contributing factor; Victoria is the wettest region which causes increase in precipitation and poor distribution of rainfall. There is intensive land use in Victoria region for agriculture. Livestock grazing and dry land farming is common. Forestry is concentrated in northeast region and also some area is reserved for nature conservation.
Recognizing the complexity
Disaster recovery is complex phenomenon; different people have separate needs that require flexibility in decision making. Victoria region has pre-existing experience of bushfire starting with 1851, then in 1938, followed by the year 1969, 1983, 2002-2003, 2007-07, and 2009. Disaster scenarios causes stress among local people, there is need for emotional and practical support to create reassurance among the affected people. Studies show this bushfire have serious mental impact on people, it creates feeling of anger, frustration and disappointment. It also causes rise in alcohol and drug consumption leading to rise in suicide rates. There is change in accommodation as people lost their home, it impacted relationships and also shift in income. Therefore, social trigger plays crucial role in recovery management; having closer personal ties, support from family help in quick recovery [ CITATION Sim10 \l 1033 ].
Recovery needs to be community led, it must address both community and individual needs, community’s needs must be prioritised, collaborative partnership. As people encountering the suffering understand each other’s need better. Therefore recovery plan must include self-help mechanisms, strengthening resource and capacity. Social recovery is associated with wellbeing of people, it also facilitates in economic recovery. It includes financial support, counselling, and emergency accommodation. It also includes creating awareness in community regarding emergency risks, enhancing community self-sufficiency. Community networks can be formed to assist communities in recovery, creating awareness, preparation for recovering activities; it can be done through regular community meetings [ CITATION Han08 \l 1033 ].
Coordination and collaboration
It is crucial to implement an integrated approach by addressing needs for all stakeholders. Key recovery stakeholders in Victoria bushfire case include impacted communities, local people of the region, state government, local government, and local community [ CITATION Car18 \l 1033 ]. There must be presence of both pre and post recovery operational structure. Community capacity building can be done through following steps;
1. Implementing good governance
2. Ensuring adequate financial support with adequate supply of staff and skill
3. Integrated development of formal and informal groups, activities of wealth generation,
It is must to ensure effective two way communication for successful recovery, easy access of information, data sharing and timely accurate message delivery. During disaster people are stressed out, panicked and not ready to tolerate unavailability of information. Therefore, informal community information system helps in easy and fast spread of news. According to Australian Red Cross 2010 people must be informed regarding relevant information regarding recovery process, availability of support. Fire warnings must be communicated on time, proper threat messages must be communicated through local media and other key stages of effective communication include acknowledging proper audience, state government needs to communicate to public, proper communication within household and educating people about bushfire safety.
Acknowledging and building capacity
It is crucial to plan and assess capacity availability and requirement in the region; it helps in preparing for unforeseen emergency scenarios. Partnership among local public services, health department, emergency preparedness and response programs helps in managing situations such as proper food supply, safeguarding against infectious diseases, fostering safe and healthy living conditions in the community. Adequate training programs need to be implemented for people who are not involved in day to day disaster management tasks[ CITATION Gib131 \l 1033 ].
Continuous improvement and evaluation
According to The National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework key factors that must be ensured for successful recovery plan include proper assessment of contextual issues that shows scope of disaster, desired result from recovery plan i.e. set goals, clearly defined strategies, performance indicators that help in understanding success or failure in recovery plan and adequate recommendations.
This section includes key strategies for effective management of recovery phase. Key purpose of disaster management is to ensure relief to affected community. Involving community in relief process helps in reducing community stress; facilitates in better management of information, better understanding of common needs and application of resources and overall monitoring of progress. Another strategy is to implement a locally based recovery plan, it is easy for management within Vitoria region to implement better relief programs, local government needs to make decisions, therefore there is a need to make a risk management strategy and train local government to act in such scenarios.
While planning for emergency, recovery plan must be comprehensive that mitigates the effect in different societal aspects. Disaster scenario impact social, economic, natural and environmental factors dramatically.
Disaster scenario impacts social wellbeing of society including income, wealth, employment, health, amenity and social issues. The position of community is impacted by degree of closeness and connection through element such as locality, culture, religion and political preference [CITATION ABS01 \l 1033 ]. Firefighters and associated personnel encounter physical and psychological stress as they work for long hours, away from families. It also influences mental and physical health of people such as asthma, respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases [ CITATION Chu91 \l 1033 ].
There is extensive impact of bushfire on ecosystem, there is change in soil combination, change in water repellence. It also changes hydrology of environment changing streams, lakes water quality; it also reduces vegetation, litter of ashes impact sedimentation of water, erosion of soil [ CITATION oer06 \l 1033 ]. Fire also causes large plume of smoke in air, mixture of dust, ash, glasses causes’ poor quality air in environment. Biodiversity flora and fauna vegetation and species get influenced through bushfire.
Bushfire also has strong impact on economy, numerous power cut, huge loss encountered by industrial sector, tourism hampered, forest loss and significant property loss. Bushfires can cause disruption in transport network, homes and iconic buildings which have been destroyed previously in similar incidents. There is need to set up incident control centres locally to manage direct operation requirements meanwhile help can be taken from coordination centres that are established at regional and state level to coordinate fire response.
Stages ofeffectiveemergency management plan
Step one: authorisation of developing an emergency project management team, forming committee, appointing coordinator and allocating budget.
Step two: forming an emergency council committee to ensure regular updating of program, oversee development of plan and its implementation when required
Step 3: appointment of an emergency management coordinator who must be a member of local service district with complete local information of municipality, resources and other local facilities. Coordinator is responsible for advising council, coordinating town operations, coordinating emergency plan execution.
Step 4:consultation with fire and emergency services, they need to work closely with emergency management team for addressing all issue.
Step5: proper hazard risk and vulnerability analysis must be conducted in terms of town, transport, environment and industry using diamond ranking model
Step 6:task determination and action planning, it include creating list of steps required for combating different hazards
Step 7: task and resource evaluation must be done through committee, resource, and medical and communication capacity
Step 8: detailed planning and review must be conducted
Step 9: approval and adoption
Step 10: educating every stakeholder, providing adequate training and compilation of resources
It is advised to form an inter-agency group to develop a single emergency service act. It is also recommended to give bushfire communication authority to local and district authority as they have better idea of bushfire prone areas, proper warning announcements should be made through media. It is also crucial that state government provide adequate resourcing to environmental and conservation department. Local authorities must have full authority to take decision and action during bushfire emergency. Fire and emergency service authority, environment department needs to develop strong burning programs to ensure reduction in fuel load, better understanding and implementation of firefighting techniques and enhancing inter-operability. Proper cost calculation of bushfire to community must be calculated and strict regulation must be followed for installation, removal, maintenance of fire hydrants to the Water Corporation [ CITATION Mar021 \l 1033 ].
It is crucial to evaluate implementation plan to ensure weather recovery is successful or not. Key evaluation questions are discussed below;
Comparing initiative objectives with its attributes in relation to program areas and outcomes achieved.
What outcomes have been achieved in relation to commitment made by government and emergency management taskforce against set projects?
Assessing the overall result is the first set of evaluation plan; recovery management plan must be achieved within set time and budget. Evaluation is conducted by taking interviews from community, working groups and government officials. It helps in getting in-depth understanding of specific learning’s from each scenario. Evaluation plan must include assessment of each factor set during planning. It includes
Assessment of protection of catchment of fire, through cross tenure of tenure blind approach, use of dedicated specialists, communication system between DSA, CMA and communities, provision for bottled water and ground assessment. There is need to review control line assessment, water quality management. [CITATION Rob05 \l 1033 ]
Assessing impact on landholders, it must include evaluation of cleaning of dams, fencing of repairing areas, helping landholders by including local people for one to one communication; proper agronomic advisory services must be provided after fire, subsidy rate, weed control grants, dog fencing grants, proper private land programs.
Evaluating consultation and communication service in the region, proper community consultation must be evaluated weather they were done in public and direct mails or not; proper advertisements on newspapers were made to help landholders, evaluating use of one to one local networks to help survivors. [ CITATION Vic161 \l 1033 ]
Proper Volunteer coordination through adequate compilation of volunteer list, proper skills availability to deal with bushfire issues, proper fodder relief and protection of cultural heritage through adequate distribution of donation
Below are certain parameters that can be used for evaluating disaster recovery management program;
Whether recovery management staff was properly involved with fire management team for proper recovery and comprehensive information collection?
Proper time frame has been set in accordance to size of event and capacity of problem and landholders
Whether proper training is being provided to minimum 40 recovery centers regarding environmental recovery and social coordination?
whether all employees of recovery management team have clear idea about work allocation, regional and external consultants have clear idea regarding their duties and responsibilities
Whether proper fund distribution is done with proper guidelines on the way it should be spent on recovery process?
Whether restoration of fire breaks and debris removal is undertaken properly?
Whether staff is clearly guided on the way stressful community is to be dealt with during recovery phase?
Whether adequate follow-up is available for information sharing, doubt clearance and feedback?
The above analysis helps in understanding strategy, process and principles for dealing with disaster (especially bushfire) in Australian region. Literature highlights there has been tremendous growth in bushfire emergency management process, however still lot of improvement is required such as adequate information sharing, issue of timely warnings, proper command and control system in emergency department. This report includes list of recommendations for enhancing decision making, reducing confusion. Disaster response and recovery management in this case of bushfire requires adequate assessment, planning of the response and recovery program, implementation of services and evaluating the process to understand success of response and recovery management program.
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