Multi-agency collaboration in the face of major incidents

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

Mr Nicholas de Rozario, Fire Management Officer at the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources joins us next month at the conference to discuss ‘Multi-agency collaboration in the face of major incidents: SA Extreme Weather Event – September 2016’.

This presentation provides an overview of the extreme weather event experienced by South Australia in September 2016. Heavy rains and strong winds across the State resulted in extensive storm damage along with flooding in and around creek and river catchments. Critical infrastructure, the road network, along with a large number of houses and businesses were affected. The peak of the event was characterised by a blackout which left the entire State without mains power supply for a number of hours. Essential services were forced to implement their contingencies and it was a number of days before more remote parts of the State had their mains power supplies restored.

The SA State Emergency Service is the control agency for extreme weather events in South Australia responsible for taking charge of the emergency and providing leadership to all other agencies responding. The sheer magnitude of the event combined with its duration required an unprecedented level of interoperability between agencies for managing a flood and storm event in South Australia. Supporting agencies included the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, SA Country Fire Service, SA Metropolitan Fire Service, SA Police, Bureau of Meteorology, Local Government Association and SA Department of Communities and Social Inclusion.

As the event continued to escalate, additional agencies became involved including Emergency Management Australia, the Australian Defence Force, Victoria State Emergency Service and Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The presentation explores the benefits of a common incident management framework, such as the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System, in facilitating interoperability between agencies at both the state and national levels building our capability to respond to these significant types of events.

The presentation concludes with a reflection on lessons learnt following this incident, as they apply to inter agency collaboration during major incidents.

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