Page 334 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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break down measures by government area or suburb. This is because an evacuation plan needs to be fluid to take into consideration the type and nature of the emergency incident.

The Evacuations Policy sets out responsibilities across the three key stakeholders:

The response agencies – ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) and ACT Policing (ACTP) – are responsible for identifying the hazards which may result in an evacuation, usually in the context of a Planning Cell within an Incident Management Team, and planning for an evacuation.

ACTP is responsible for coordinating access/egress for the evacuation and emergency support.

The Community Services Directorate (CSD) is responsible for the care and oversight of community members who have been displaced by an emergency, including the setup and management of evacuation/respite centres. CSD is also responsible for the safe return of community members to their homes once given the all-clear by the response agency.

In addition to the Evacuations Policy document, the ESA, ACTP, and CSD, have lower-level Standard Operating Procedures or Guidelines within their respective areas.

The planning for an evacuation in relation to a specific emergency would be undertaken by the response agency (ESA or ACTP) and, depending on the nature and scale of the emergency, would include the Emergency Coordination Centre whole-of-government arrangements.

The execution of an evacuation plan, including assembly points, depends on the type and nature of the emergency incident and takes into account things such as access by emergency vehicles and egress of residents. For example, in relation to bushfires a number of factors need to be taken into consideration including the direction the fire is heading and weather conditions. What may be a good evacuation strategy for one particular bushfire may not necessarily be adequate or safe for another bushfire in exactly the same area.

Once the need for an evacuation is determined by an Incident Management Team, evacuation plans are enacted immediately. If the potential need for an evacuation is identified in advance, planning teams are formed to specifically plan for the identified potential evacuation in advance of that immediate need.

As part of educating the community, the ESA makes it clear that residents need to be aware of how they can access information in an emergency situation, so that they can undertake any recommended actions in a timely manner. The ESA has worked hard to increase community awareness through the ‘Are You Emergency Ready?’ campaign which uses radio, digital, TV and printed media. The campaign promotes the shared responsibility between the Government, emergency services, and the community, to be prepared in the event of several different types of emergencies. It encourages the community to be prepared for weather emergencies such as bushfire, grass fire, storm, flood, and extreme heat by:

Completing and Emergency Survival Plan.

Preparing their homes and families for weather emergencies.

Connecting with their neighbours for a safer community.

Understanding the potential consequences of not being emergency ready.

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