How the QLD State Disaster Coordination Centre (SDCC) response capability was conceived & deployed in less than 12mths

The Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference thanks Mr Mark Armstrong, Director of Full Capacity, for his recent contribution to our annual event.

Mr Mark Armstrong, Director of Full Capacity
Mr Mark Armstrong, Director of Full Capacity

Mr Armstrong delivered his presentation at this event held 28th-30th May at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.  Mr Armstrong discussed the Queensland State Disaster Coordination Centre (SDCC), whilst an impressive and well-equipped physical facility, is only as good as the people who staff it during a disaster.

During a complex emergency the required staff for the SDCC needs to swell dramatically in order to effectively manage a statewide response. Regional disasters in recent years proved the difficulty in surging a staff sufficient to operate the SDCC in quantity, let alone quality. This had many negative consequences during emergencies; notably senior SDCC staff engaged in the time consuming tasks of seeking release of people from other government departments and negotiating issues such as staff hours.

Critically, the staff that were released often lacked even a fundamental understanding of State Disaster Management Arrangements or SDCC operations resulting in urgent on-the-job training and ad-hoc induction. This capability gap was the first issue addressed by the newly formed Disaster Management Services Unit in early 2012. Through systematic planning, extensive consultation and vigorous execution an ’SDCC Response Team’ capability was justified, created and trained in less than a year. This capability was centered on a pool of trained, volunteer public servants standing ready to rapidly augment the SDCC in the event of crisis.

The ’SDCC Response Team’ capability was deployed during the weather and flood events of early 2013. Initial feedback is that it was a great success resulting in an SDCC that ramped up faster and operated more effectively, cohesively and sustainably than in the past.

Using the ‘ends-way-means’ model of policy implementation, Mr Armstrong examined how this initiative was developed and deployed so quickly. It also considered how this augmentation approach could be used to enhance disaster management arrangements at the local or district levels using public or commercial resources.

We look forward to hosting this event again in May 2014.

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