What is Emergency Management?
Effective disaster management requires a structure that takes into account the strategic, tactical and operational levels at which the arrangement must operate.
Such a structure must allow for functions applicable to all hazards, operate across all phases of Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Recovery (PPRR) and include standing coordination arrangements.
The structure must be scalable to match events and be flexible enough to adjust to situations as they evolve. In Queensland the structure, known as the Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements (QDMA), is based on the Act and supported by disaster management plans.
Queensland Disaster Management Structure
Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG)
Local governments are primarily responsible for managing disaster events in their local government areas.
Local governments are ideally placed to provide specific disaster management at the community level given their knowledge and understanding of social, environmental and economic issues.
They achieve coordinated disaster management through the LDMG and local disaster management planning.
District Disaster Management Group (DDMG)
The DDMG provides whole-of-governments planning and coordination capacity to support local governments in disaster operations.
The disaster districts perform a ‘middle management’ function within the disaster management arrangements by providing coordinated State Government support when requested by local governments.
DDMGs are responsible to the QDMC for all aspects of State Government capabilities in disaster management for the district.
Queensland Disaster Management Committee (QDMC)
The QDMC provides strategic direction and State-level decision making for disaster management within the State and ensures PPRR activities are coordinated from a whole-of-government perspective and based on an all-hazards approach.
If local governments require additional resources to manage the event, they are able to request support through their District Disaster Management Group. This allows for the rapid mobilisation of resources at a regional or district level.
If district resources are inadequate or inappropriate, requests for assistance can be passed to State via the State Disaster Coordination Centre.
Finally, when State resources are inadequate or inappropriate, Australian Government support can be obtained through the Attorney-General’s Department.
Comprehensive Approach – Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Recovery (PPRR)
Disasters have a cyclic four stage lifecycle. Understanding this lifecycle helps us to be prepared for disasters, respond safely and recover quickly and effectively.
At each stage there are different things to know and different actions we should take. These stages can change rapidly and often overlap.
The four stages are referred to as ‘PPRR’.
Prevention activities reduce the impact of disaster events through the identification of hazards. Hazards are risks that could affect your household, causing you to evacuate or that could impact your evacuation plans. Hazards can include having power lines near trees, living in a street with only one access point, or having a creek behind your house. At a regional level, it also involves legislation, land-use planning and technical solutions.
Preparedness is an ongoing set of activities in which people plan, prepare/organise and train for emergency situations. This includes tasks such as having an emergency kit, making an evacuation plan, simulating disaster situations and appropriate responses, and discussing emergency preparedness with your family, friends and neighbours.
Response is responding to the immediate needs of the emergency situation. A well-rehearsed emergency plan developed during the preparedness stage enables more effective responses at all levels.
Recovery involves activities and decision-making necessary to restore the affected area to its previous state. This stage often involves rebuilding, re-employment and repair of essential infrastructure. There is also a focus on human social recovery to individual health and wellbeing.