A collaborative approach to enhancing resilience in high risk and isolated communities

The 6th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held next week over 22 – 23 May at The Star Gold Coast (previously Jupiter’s), Queensland.

Mrs Julia Cook, Disaster Management Support Officer with the Qld Police Service joins us to discuss ‘A collaborative approach to enhancing resilience in high risk and isolated communities’.

Queensland is acknowledged as the most disaster-prone state in Australia. Threats including cyclones, storms, floods, bushfires and industrial accidents take their toll on communities, infrastructure, businesses and the environment.  Increased demand and the limited capacity of emergency services personnel and services means empowering individuals and communities and strengthening community resilience to natural and man-made risks is an increasing priority and challenge.

The My Resilient Community project explores the pathways taken to strengthen community resilience through improving preparedness, response and recovery capacity.  Through this project, emergency services, government and non-government agencies connect with local communities to promote understanding of risks and vulnerabilities and identify skills and contributions individuals can make to further enhance community resilience.

The delivery of the project involves a number of phases including risk assessment; marketing and resilience information sharing; street meets; door knocks; mail outs and the establishment of local community groups to coordinate resilience through prevention, preparation, response and recovery activities.

The framework of the project utilises adaptable, flexible and diverse strategies to facilitate a cultural shift in communities to know the hazards, understand the risks and work with emergency services personnel and each other.  This is a critical step toward enhancing community resilience.

Practical application of the project to date includes work with isolated, island, and extreme risk communities in SEQ.  The case studies adopted diverse strategies according to the unique needs and capacity of the individual communities.  They demonstrated how communities have gained an increased awareness of their risks, the capacity of emergency services and the role individuals and community groups can play in disaster and emergency management.

My Resilient Community uses a holistic and multi-faceted approach to building resilient communities.  The ethos of this project provides a grass-root approach through collaborating with agencies and local volunteer organisations to achieve shared responsibility in community resilience.

For more information on the 2017 Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit www.anzdmc.com.au.