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STRATEGIC

DIRECTIONS

FOR FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

2014 - 2016


November 2013 AFAC Limited

(ABN 52 060 049 327)

Level 5, 340 Albert Street East Melbourne Victoria 3002 T: 03 9419 2388 F: 03 9419 2389 Email: afac@afac.com.au www.afac.com.au Copyright Š 2013 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 2014 - 2016 > Introduction This Fire and Emergency Services document was prepared by AFAC, supported by the Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC), and endorsed by the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management (SCPEM) on 8 November 2013 to inform, clarify intent and lead to a shared national vision and joint commitment across AFAC Agencies, High-Level Officials and Ministers. The approach has unashamedly drawn from the ‘Directions in Australia New Zealand Policing’ that has been developed and endorsed nationally for many years. It reflects an increasing alignment and interoperability across public safety agencies.

> Strategic Direction from SCPEM The SCPEM consists of all Australian and New Zealand Ministers who have responsibility for police and emergency services. The purpose of SCPEM is to ‘promote a coordinated national response to law enforcement and emergency management issues’. SCPEM looks to develop a shared framework for cooperation and a basis for strategic directions for the policing and emergency services of Australia and New Zealand. For many years, the Police Ministers have exercised their high level governance of policing through a ‘Directions’ document issued every three years. This had however, been absent for Fire and Emergency Services.

> Purpose This ‘Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services’ document provides a similar level of direction for Australian and New Zealand Fire and Emergency Services from their Government Ministers. More than ever before, these agencies are responding within an ‘all agency, all hazard environment, all of the time’, with an increasing need for strategic direction to be articulated in a single, collective, national document.

> Vision Integrated fire and emergency services supporting resilient communities.

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016

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National Principles

FOR FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

The following principles are fundamental to the work of Fire and Emergency Services. They enhance understanding and achievement across all agencies, contributing to safer and more resilient communities. > Primacy of Life Primacy of life is the major motivation for Fire and Emergency Services work. Saving life dominates equipping, training and planning their deployment. Any loss of life from emergencies and disasters is deeply felt within the Fire and Emergency Services community. Minimising the loss of life is reliant on maintaining: • professional training and individual development, • appropriate equipment and support, • planning and exercising to maintain the highest possible competencies, and • effective incident control employing AIIMS.

> Trust 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. This trust requires: • individual behaviour of the highest standard, • common understanding and awareness of expectations, • shared community information and a common operating picture during incidents, and • confidence in a reliable and professional delivery.

> Interoperability 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 sharing of information, approaches and philosophies, as well as interoperable equipment, procedures and a clear understanding of command and control. Interoperability requires: • a willingness to train together, • planning for interagency response, • seamless operations and the application of AIIMS during incident management, • adopting common industry positions, standards and protocols, and • 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: • appropriate reporting and corporate governance, • minimising duplication across services, • maximising efficiencies and cost reductions, and • responding to community concerns. 2

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016


THE

DIRECTIONS


> DIRECTION 1

Supporting resilient communities through risk reduction The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience 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 determined, AFAC agencies need to focus on preparedness and risk reduction, while remaining responsible for response to any residual risk, should an emergency still occur. Fire and Emergency Services will contribute to resilient communities through: • Identifying risks: that may include risk mapping for local communities and informing those communities in practical ways.

through eco-friendly operational procedures and including planned burning to reduce bushfire risk and maintain ecosystem health.

• Focussing on strategic risk assessments: across landscapes, communities and assets, both public estate and privately owned.

• Supporting volunteerism: both through structured organisations and spontaneous volunteering.

• Providing education and support: to local community members and schools.

• Striving to be part of the community fabric: through local involvement in community activities, and contributing to social capacity and self-reliance.

• Engaging with elements of the community at risk: seeking to support their special needs. • Promoting and where legislated, inspecting mitigation measures: to maximise the benefits of existing standards and policies, minimising exposures to potential emergency incidents. • Practicing environmental sustainability:

‘COMMUNITIES ARE BEING INCREASINGLY SUPPORTED THROUGH THE PROVISION OF RISKBASED MAPPING THAT READILY IDENTIFIES THE NATURAL HAZARDS IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT, MITIGATION MEASURES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO SEEK PROTECTION THROUGH TIMELY RE-LOCATION OR, IF NEED BE, SHELTERING. THROUGH DEVELOPING AND SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES, FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES ACTIVELY ENGAGE AT A LOCAL LEVEL, DEVELOPING A SHARED UNDERSTANDING.’ 4

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016


> DIRECTION 2

Providing trusted response 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: • Being trained, organised, equipped and ready: Their readiness is a primary output to the community. • Planning and practising their response: to ensure that it is professional and as fast as possible, regardless of paid, part-time or volunteer engagement with their parent agencies. • Responding rapidly and effectively: to prevent emergency incidents from escalating into crisis. Unlike other community volunteers, fire and emergency service volunteers generally do not choose when they volunteer – they are ‘called out’.

• Minimising the impact of emergencies and their consequences: on individuals, communities, essential infrastructure, industry and the environment. • Delivering and encouraging national standards and certification: that assists effective benchmarking, performance improvement and learning. • Maintaining accurate response records: which are focussed on outcomes rather than simply response times.

‘THE SINGLE MOTHER IN A SMALL COUNTRY TOWN SIMPLY WANTED SOMEONE IN UNIFORM TO REASSURE HER THAT EVERYTHING WAS ALRIGHT. SHE CALLED THE LOCAL VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE AND THEY RESPONDED. THERE WAS NO FIRE, BUT BEING NEW TO THE COMMUNITY AND LATE AT NIGHT, THEY WERE LOCAL PEOPLE SHE KNEW SHE COULD TRUST…’

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016

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> DIRECTION 3

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 to make appropriate and informed decisions. Local response is not always possible, particularly during major emergency events when multiple responses are required. Regardless, Fire and Emergency Services are committed to keeping the community well informed. Fire and Emergency Services will provide credible and timely information by: • Focussing on information as an operational capability: and acknowledging that this output is as important as operational response. • Committing resources to media engagement in order to: maximise the opportunity for the media to inform the community. • Informing communities: by maximising available technology, including data and provision to mobile devices, to rapidly inform and update the public.

• 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. • Actively sharing information within and between agencies: creating a Common Operating Picture at tactical, regional and state level. • Providing and reviewing the best tools and methodologies: to advise and warn individuals, communities and regions.

‘AGENCIES ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ‘PUTTING OUT THE INFORMATION’ IS AS IMPORTANT AS ‘PUTTING OUT THE FIRE’, OR ‘RESPONDING TO THE STORM DAMAGE,’ OR ANY OTHER EMERGENCY. WE LIVE IN THE INFORMATION AGE AND WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OUR INFORMATION SERVICES ARE AS VALUABLE AS OUR RESPONSE SERVICES, PARTICULARLY DURING MAJOR DISASTERS. THIS IS A MAJOR CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION…’

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Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016


> DIRECTION 4

Effective Governance and Resource Management Fire and Emergency Services have a national workforce nearing 300,000 and a total national budget exceeding $4bn. This does not account for volunteer contributions which are significant, providing a substantial element of local service delivery and national surge capacity. Governance and resource management of this substantial resource needs to be contemporary and adaptable to changing demands. Fire and Emergency Services will maintain effective governance and resource management by: • Meeting legislative, policy and reporting requirements: of Governments and Ministers.

• Promoting business acumen: in our leaders and managers.

• Capturing the appropriate data: to ensure the best informed decision-making and research.

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

• Leading and managing: the right mix of men and women; paid, part-time and volunteer workforces.

• Pursuing opportunities for collaborative purchasing: to maximise cost benefits.

• Delivering value: by reviewing costs and services.

‘FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE FINDING WAYS TO DO WHAT WE DO IN A SMARTER, MORE EFFICIENT WAY, WHILE NOT REDUCING FRONT LINE SERVICES TO COMMUNITIES. OUR ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDS TO BE FIRST-RATE, MANAGING THE SUBSTANTIVE RESOURCES ACROSS OUR JURISDICTIONS. EVEN WHEN THERE IS NO OBSERVABLE ACTIVITY, WE ARE ALWAYS PROVIDING A READINESS CAPABILITY TO THE COMMUNITY, THROUGH THE RESOURCES WE MANAGE.’

Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016

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> DIRECTION 5

Informed by research 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. Fire and Emergency Services will be informed by research through: • Contributing to an industry-based national research capability: that is end-user focussed, cooperatively funded and industry supported. • Maximising research utilisation at agency level: through an ongoing commitment to being informed of research outcomes, exploring opportunities, trialling options and adopting improved practice.

• Focussing on evidence-based decision-making by: drawing on available data and research to heighten consistency and rigour with emergency risk assessments. • Ensuring research outcomes benefit communities: through information, education and advice.

‘RESEARCH MAKES US THINK AND PROVIDES EVIDENCE TO ASSIST IN OUR DECISION MAKING. IT SOMETIMES REINFORCES THAT WHAT WE ARE DOING IS RIGHT AND MORE OFTEN OFFERS OPTIONS OR ALTERNATIVES; BUT IT ALWAYS CONTRIBUTES TO THE OVERALL INDUSTRY BODY OF EVIDENCE. THE CHALLENGE IS ENSURING THAT THE RESEARCH IS ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS WE ORIGINALLY ASKED AND TO FOCUS ON RESEARCH UTILISATION TO MAKE SURE THE NEW KNOWLEDGE IS EMBEDDED IN AGENCY PROCEDURES AND COMMUNITY PRACTICE.’

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Strategic Directions for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand 2014 -2016



AFAC Strategic Directions