Emergency management capability

The Department of Home Affairs, through Emergency Management Australia, continues to establish, fund and support several capability development activities, often with state, territory and international partners, to strengthen Australia's ability to respond to emergencies.

Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre

The Crisis Coordination Centre (CCC) is the Australian Government's periscope into everything that is happening around the globe. It is an all-hazards, 24/7 facility with representatives from a range of Australian Government departments, including the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia. It provides the whole-of-government picture to decision makers during times of crisis, whether it is a natural disaster or a security incident. The CCC also coordinates physical Australian Government assistance during disasters and emergencies and manages the National Security Hotline—the single point of contact for the public to report suspicious activity.

Australian Tsunami Warning System

EMA, Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia collaborate to provide the Australian Tsunami Warning System, which delivers timely and effective tsunami warnings to the Australian population. This system includes the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, public education, national crisis coordination and support to state and territory emergency agencies.

East Asia Summit Rapid Disaster Response Toolkit

Recognising the vulnerability of the Asia-Pacific region to natural disasters, East Asia Summit representatives developed this toolkit, providing a guide for decision makers during times of crises. It provides a planned and coordinated approach for managing offers and requests for international disaster assistance, promotes a common operating language and regional best practice, and enhances national preparedness, sharing capacity and rapid response.

2018 East Asia Summit International Disaster Assistance Workshop

Australia and Indonesia co-hosted the 2018 East Asia Summit (EAS) International Disaster Assistance Workshop (the Workshop) in Perth, Western Australia on 8-10 May 2018, in collaboration with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) in Disaster Management and the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The Workshop brought together 16 of the 18 EAS countries to consider a hypothetical disaster scenario where Australia was in need of large scale disaster assistance.  The event was the first occasion when the EAS had considered regional arrangements for making requests, offering and accepting disaster assistance in responding to a catastrophic disaster in a non-ASEAN EAS country.  The Workshop also allowed the AHA Centre to explore how it would coordinate a ‘One ASEAN, One Response’ to a non-ASEAN country.

The Workshop was successful in enhancing participants’ awareness and understanding of the EAS Rapid Disaster Response Toolkit and provided lessons that could be applied domestically to strengthen arrangements of EAS countries.  Additionally the Workshop provided an opportunity to strengthen relationships among regional disaster managers.

A copy of the Workshop outcomes report is below.

Emergency Alert

While state and territory governments have primary responsibility for issuing emergency warnings to the community, the Emergency Alert system is supported by the Australian Government and is how emergency services send warning messages to landlines and mobile phones in defined areas during emergencies.

Emergency Management Assistance Team

The Emergency Management Assistance Team (EMAT) is a group of experienced emergency management personnel from Australian states and territories who can rapidly deploy to support emergency management operations across all hazards. EMAT personnel have extensive disaster planning and coordination experience and a thorough understanding of Australian, state and territory emergency management arrangements.

Emergency Management - LINK

Emergency Management LINK (EM-LINK) is an Australian online catalogue that gives registered users a quick, comprehensive and up-to-date listing of emergency management related geospatial web services for a chosen hazard and/or region. EM-LINK is used by staff in Australian, state and territory government agencies as well as those employed in the recovery, humanitarian and critical infrastructure sectors to assist with sharing information about the extent of current and potential disasters in Australia. To learn more or to request access, visit the Emergency Management-LINK page.

National Aerial Firefighting Centre

The National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) coordinates and shares specialist aerial firefighting equipment within Australia to help states and territory governments respond to bushfires, protect communities and support firefighters on the ground. The Australian Government provides direct funding for this capability—$14.8 million annually—and NAFC then works closely with jurisdictional experts to manage operational aspects of the program, including decisions on aircraft, leases and deployments. NAFC capability complements a range of other firefighting aircraft that states and territories acquire and manage independently.

Urban Search and Rescue

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is a specialist capability that helps locate, care and extract people trapped or affected by a structural collapse. USAR teams consist of highly trained firefighters supported by specialists like paramedics, doctors, engineers, hazardous materials experts, police and search dog handlers. All states and territories maintain USAR capabilities and arrangements. Australia maintains two internationally accredited USAR capabilities in New South Wales and Queensland, which are on standby to assist other countries. During disasters that involve structural collapses, EMA works closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to deploy USAR.

Volunteer Search Dog Framework

EMA has developed this strategic framework to recognise and coordinate volunteer search dogs in emergency response. It helps emergency service organisations understand the work of volunteer search dog associations and how they can assist during emergencies. It also provides guidance on how these two sectors can cooperate and collaborate during disaster response.

EMA assists to develop and deploy a range of other Australian Government emergency capabilities, including Australian Medical Assistance Teams and Triple Zero