Understanding Impacts of Emergencies on Communities

The 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference is on this month over the 21-22 May at The Star Gold Coast.

Ms Fyowna Norton, Manager Strategy and Policy, Relief and Recovery with Emergency Management Victoria joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Understanding Impacts of Emergencies on Communities’.


‘What gets measured, gets managed…’ Imagine if you could understand and measure the changing resilience of communities before, during and after emergencies? What if there was a way to present this complete, connected, and evolving picture of community need?

Emergencies continue to occur in an environment of increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, acts of extreme violence, and heightened community expectations. Good decisions require timely, accurate, and progressively more comprehensive information about the impacts of emergencies. Compiling a full picture of impact following an emergency can be highly resource intensive, so impact information needs to be single source, authoritative, accurate, relevant and accessible to enable this.

Understanding the impacts of emergencies on communities is not just about collecting data. It is about understanding those impacts across communities, and measuring changing resilience over time. The Victorian emergency management sector is working together to realise a sustainable and efficient system that reduces the likelihood, effect and consequences of emergencies and is prioritising evidence-based decision making, and the commissioning and use of research to guide strategy, investment and decision making.

Victoria is building an impact assessment model to capture information about communities to build a picture of pre-disaster resilience and, along with impact data, inform post event planning, monitor ongoing consequences of an event, and evaluate the impact of recovery activities. Benefits include; better utilisation of strengths/coordination resulting in efficient use of resources, impact data contextualised by local knowledge, greater efficiencies in meeting national funding arrangement requirements, a common operating picture informed by accurate data, better decision making, and universal access to information.

Impact assessment is not just data, figures, and content. If you look closely, there are stories. This is the piece that connects us before, during and after. These stories, after all, are just data with a soul.


With over 25 years’ experience in the public/private sector and Bachelor degrees in Arts/Science and Social Work, Fyowna started her career as a child protection practitioner, working with the most vulnerable and complex children and families. With a diverse career in perinatal psychiatry, economic development, workforce reform, and as Director of a successful business in the fitness industry, Fyowna has co-authored papers and presented at international conferences, and is a national marketing award winner. Currently Manager Strategy and Policy, Relief and Recovery, Emergency Management Victoria, Fyowna is responsible for key reform projects that deliver better recovery outcomes for all Victorians.

For more information on the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit the conference website.