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2017 – 2021

September 2016 AFAC Limited

(ABN 52 060 049 327)

Level 1, 340 Albert Street East Melbourne Victoria 3002 T: 03 9419 2388 F: 03 9419 2389 Copyright Š 2016 Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council All rights reserved. Copyright in this publication is subject to the operation of the Copyright Act 1968 and its subsequent amendments. Any material contained in this document can be reproduced, providing the source is acknowledged and it is not used for any commercialisation purpose whatsoever without the permission of the copyright owner.

Strategic Directions For fire and emergency services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 – 2021 Introduction The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), as the Australian and New Zealand National Council of fire and emergency services, together with states and territories and the Australian and New Zealand Governments is shaping the future of emergency management. Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014–2016 (referred to as the ‘Strategic Directions’) was first endorsed in 2013 by the Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) and the then Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management (SCPEM). The five priorities articulated in the Strategic Directions have been broadly adopted across AFAC.

Purpose The ‘Strategic Directions’ document identifies priorities at the national level for fire and emergency services. It creates a shared vision and a joint commitment to enhanced community resilience. It informs, clarifies the intent and identifies the actions required across AFAC agencies, engaging High-Level Officials and Ministers. The expectation within the AFAC National Council is that what is addressed in the Strategic Directions, would be considered in the development of each agency’s strategic plan.

Operation The Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC) consists of all Australian and New Zealand Ministers who have responsibility for law, policing and emergency services. AFAC reports to LCCSC through ANZEMC on achievements against the Strategic Directions. The Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017–2021 was endorsed by ANZEMC and LCCSC in 2016. More than ever, the emergency management sector is providing integrated support before, during and after emergencies and disasters, with an increasing need for clarity of strategic intent, articulated in a single, national document. With the responsibility for fire and emergency services resting with states and territories, this Strategic Directions provides that. It reflects both what is being done and the directions we are heading, transitioning from traditional fire and emergency delivery to emergency management professionals integrated with, not simply working for, our communities.

Our Vision Integrated fire and emergency management supporting resilient communities.

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021


Existing national arrangements Crisis arrangements

Standing arrangements

National Security Committee of Cabinet (Australia) Domestic External Security Committee (New Zealand)

Council of Australian Governments

Crisis Coordination Centre (Australia) National Crisis Management Centre (New Zealand)

Law, Crime and Community Safety Council

State/Territory (Australia) National/Regional (New Zealand) Crisis Management

Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee

Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC)1

Commissioners and Chief Officers Strategic Committee (CCOSC)2

Exchange of letters

Fire and emergency service agencies (Australia and New Zealand) 1 The Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services. 2 CCOSC coordinates the contributions to interstate and overseas deployments and involves both Australia and New Zealand.


Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021

National Principles For fire and emergency services

The following principles are fundamental to the work of fire and emergency services. They enhance understanding across all agencies, contributing to safer and more resilient communities.

Primacy of life Primacy of life and the reduction of harm and suffering is the major motivation for fire and emergency services. Any loss of life from emergencies and disasters is deeply felt withing the fire and emergency services community. Minimising loss is reliant on: • working with communities to encourage shared responsibility and promote disaster reslience • a highly skilled and proficient workforce with appropriate equipment and support • planning and exercising to maintain the highest possible competencies • effective incident management employing the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS).

Trust and confidence Fire and emergency services depend on a high level of trust not only within crews, teams, units and brigades, but also with key stakeholders such as other emergency services, local government and communities. Maintaining trust and confidence of those they serve is a key success measure for fire and emergency services. This trust and confidence requires: • shared community information and a common operating picture before, during and after incidents • individual and team behaviour of the highest standard • common understanding and awareness of community risk and expectations • reliable and professional advice and service delivery.

Interoperability through partnerships Most emergency incidents generate a response from a variety of agencies. Interoperability is fundamental to emergency service delivery: all agencies, all hazards, all of the time. This requires open communication, sharing of information, approaches and philosophies, as well as interoperable equipment, procedures and a clear understanding of command and control. Interoperability through partnerships requires: • commitment across government, industry and communities, planning for interagency response with a willingness to train and exercise together • seamless operations and the application of AIIMS during incident management • adopting common industry positions, standards and protocols • sharing ideas, successes, lessons and resources.

Accountability As publicly funded services, fire and emergency services must be accountable to communities, governments and their stakeholders. Accountability builds confidence and requires: • responding to community concerns • maximising efficiencies and cost reductions • appropriate reporting and corporate governance • minimising duplication across services. Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021





Supporting resilient communities through risk reduction The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience 2011 highlights the collective responsibility of all sectors of society including governments, business, communities and individuals. Fire and emergency services are well aware of the inherent disaster risks and the need to provide advice, education and information to society to mitigate those risks. Once policy, planning decisions, construction options, compliance requirements and individual choice have all been made, AFAC agencies need to focus on risk reduction and preparedness, while remaining responsible for response to any residual risk, should an emergency still occur. During disasters when the available emergency service response is overwhelmed, it will be the effectiveness of risk reduction measures and individual, household and community resilience which will determine the community impact and ability to not only bounce back, but progress forward. Fire and emergency services will contribute to resilient communities through: •• Adopting a whole of community approach: delivering not only community centred engagement, but recognising the diverse nature of communities that need to be considered, engaged and supported. •• Indentifying risks: detecting hazards for local communities and informing those communities in practical ways. •• Engaging with at risk elements of the community: seeking to support their identified needs. •• Providing disaster education and support: to local community members and schools, noting the role of children in influencing the preparedness and behaviours of families.

•• Supporting volunteerism: through both structured and spontaneous volunteering. •• Striving to be part of the community fabric: through local involvement in community activities and contributing to the development of social capital and self-reliance. •• Promoting and, where legislated, inspecting mitigation measures: to maximise the benefits of existing standards and policies, minimising exposures to potential emergency incidents. •• Awareness and promotion of the impact of Climate Change: on the increasing frequency and intensity of emergencies and natural disasters. •• Focussing on strategic risk assessments: across landscapes, communities and assets, both public estate and privately owned. •• Practising environmental sustainability: through eco-friendly operational procedures to maintain ecosystem health such as fuel reduction burning.

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021



Providing trusted response and facilitating the transition to relief and recovery When individuals dial 000/111/132500, they are experiencing a major crisis and are seeking support, reassurance and practical help in a hurry. They need to know that fire and emergency services are responding as swiftly as they can. During a major disaster, that response will not be to individual households; it is likely to focus on strategic priorities. Regardless of the outcome, the response needs to be trusted by the community and a service that can be relied upon. Fire and emergency services will reliably respond when required by: •• Developing and maintaining an Australasian Capability Statement and Roadmap: to inform and advise on existing and future operational capability across jurisdictions. •• Being trained, organised, equipped and ready: Their readiness is a primary output to the community. •• Organising inter-jurisdictional support through the CCOSC3: to focus effort and resources in a coordinated manner across states and territories and when needed, internationally. •• Establishing a national resource sharing capability: to coordinate resource deployments across states and territories and overseas. •• Advocating for a dedicated Public Sector Mobile Broadband: to provide the best possible capability for fire and emergency services.

•• Developing Emergency Medical Response: to supplement ambulance response and maximise fire and emergency service availability and skills. •• Planning and practising their response: to ensure that it is professional, rapid and effective regardless of paid, part-time or volunteer engagement. •• Maintaining accurate response records: encouraging agencies to improve on outcomes (including mitigation and incident management) as well as service delivery outputs (such as response times). •• Introducing the use of AIIMS into state legislation: to reinforce the incident management doctrine into emergency management practice and promote its use in the private sector.

Fire and emergency services as the lead combat agency during the response will: •• Remain engaged with communities: working with them to transition into relief and recovery. •• Provide integrated emergency management and operational support: at incident, regional and state level to ensure integrated transition to relief and recovery from the commencement of the response.

3 Commissioners and Chief Officers Strategic Committee


Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021

•• Support other sector leaders: as they take responsibility for relief and recovery.


The source of credible and timely information Concurrently with response, fire and emergency services are also committed to providing credible and timely information to enable individuals and communities to make appropriate, informed and timely decisions. Local response by emergency services is not always possible, particularly during natural disasters when multiple responses are required. Regardless, fire and emergency services are committed to keeping the community well informed before, during and after emergency events. This needs to be matched by individuals and communities who are engaged, informed and responsive to advice. Ideally they are also prepared, but practice indicates this is often not the case. Communication is a partnership of transmission and reception and emergency management requires this to occur concurrently between communities and emergency managers. Fire and emergency services will provide credible and timely information by: •• Informing communities: by maximising available technology, including data and provision to mobile devices, to rapidly advise and update the community.

•• Maintaining the best available predictive models: to provide the best available advice based on the existing information.

•• Committing to nationally-agreed warnings frameworks: to provide consistency for individuals and communities across jurisdictions.

•• Actively sharing information within and between agencies: creating a Common Operating Picture at incident, regional and state level.

•• Gathering information to generate intelligence: from a wide range of sources including the incident ground, aerial operations, the media, social media and all available sources.

•• Focussing on the provision of information and warnings as an operational capability: and acknowledging that this output is as important as operational response.

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021



Effective governance and resource management Fire and emergency services have an Australasian workforce of 288,000. Consisting of 254,000 registered volunteers, 34,000 paid staff in career roles (across fire services and parks and wildlife) and 6,000 retained or part time staff. Across the broader emergency management sector, the number exceeds 500,000. This unrivalled capacity, that is organised, trained and ultimately provides the nation with a substantial surge capacity, is provided with the benefit of substantial volunteer contributions. Governance and resource management of this significant resource needs to be contemporary, adaptable and accountable. Fire and emergency services will maintain effective governance and resource management by: •• Meeting legislative, policy and reporting requirements: of Boards, Governments and Ministers.

•• Maintaining a focus on workforce and community safety: to minimise WHS risks and community impact.

•• Leading and managing: our most valuable resource, our people; paid, part-time and volunteer workforces.

•• Professionalising the standing of our workforce: through the adoption of national standards through emergency management professionalisation which assists effective performance improvement and learning.

•• Developing diverse and inclusive workplaces: reflecting communities and free of discrimination and harassment. •• Protecting and supporting our people’s wellness: many of whom are exposed to trauma and mental illness. •• Supporting presumptive legislation: for prescribed cancer exposures. •• Determining agency achievement: through agreed measures and outputs.


Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021

•• Capturing the appropriate data: to identify trends and ensure the best informed decisionmaking. •• Delivering value: by reviewing practices and services and promoting business acumen in our leaders and managers. •• Pursuing opportunities for collaborative purchasing: to maximise efficiencies and cost benefits.


Informed by knowledge and research With the creation of AIDR4 in 2015 knowledge and information on emergency management and disaster resilience has the opportunity to be centred in one Institute supported and partnered by Emergency Management Australia, AFAC, Australian Red Cross and the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre. Research can reinforce current practice, explore and challenge new approaches, as well as providing evidence and options to do things better and differently. It systematically generates an increase in the stock of knowledge through pure and applied research. Research informs fire and emergency practices and presents the opportunity to improve industry performance, and shape industry culture. The Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre and other research providers assist in delivering this outcome. Fire and emergency services will be informed by knowledge and research through: •• Ensuring research outcomes benefit communities: through access to information, knowledge, education and advice. •• Reviewing and measuring performance: to improve community safety outcomes and strengthen disaster resilience. •• Emergency management and disaster resilience knowledge and information: being collected, stored and shared through sector based knowledge sharing capabilities such as, the AIDR ‘Body of Knowledge’. •• Contributing to a sector-based national research capability: that is end-user focussed, cooperatively funded and industry supported. •• Focussing on industry required research: meeting industry identified priorities that support operational missions and delivery of AFAC agencies within local communities.

•• Completing the National Burning Project: the most comprehensive synthesis of land management and prescribed burning knowledge and practice ever collected. •• Optimising predictive service capabilities nationally: providing the best advice and warnings for hazards. •• Maximising research utilisation at agency level: through an ongoing commitment to being informed of research outcomes, exploring opportunities, trialling options and adopting improved practice. •• Evidence-based decision-making by: drawing on available data, information and research to heighten consistency and rigour with emergency risk assessments. •• Becoming data driven: to identify trends and respond to developments as soon as they become evident.

4 Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2017 -2021


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