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Preparing for emergencies this summer

In the lead up to the peak of summer, Paula shares resources to help you respond effectively to emergencies and meet your quality and safeguards obligations.

By Paula Spencer

Updated 15 Apr 20249 Dec 2022

It’s hard to believe, but it has been a year since the new Emergency and Disaster Management Practice Standards were released. Over the past 12 months, DSC has worked with around 500 providers to develop their emergency and disaster management plans, with most reporting feeling much more prepared this year.

It’s the Most Wonderful (and Riskiest) Time of the Year

While all this preparation is great, it’s important not to become complacent after the NDIS audit, especially as we enter the festive season.

Every season comes with its own challenges – and none more so than summer! With extreme heat, storms, bushfires, and the ever-present risk of flooding, power outages and road closures are just some of the possible flow-on effects.

Combine these conditions with the silly season where providers are running on reduced staff levels, increased disruption to standard support services, and the annual closure of many regular programs, and we have the perfect recipe for disaster. So, it is time to start looking at the plans you have for both individual participants and as an organisation to be sure that they are as tight as can be.

With participant support plans, this may involve checking to see whether emergency contacts are going to be away and arranging alternative contacts. Organisations need to consider whether core staff members who would normally lead the response to an emergency or disaster are going to be away or juggling more than one role. This might be a great time to run a test scenario of what happens if a significant event occurs on Christmas Day.  

Emergency and disaster resources are also not static. There are new, nationally consistent fire rating levels which launched in September. All states and territories now use the four simplified alert levels of moderate, high, extreme, and catastrophic. Therefore, if you are in a bushfire-prone area, documents and training may need to be updated to reflect those changes.

Free Emergency and Disaster Planning Gifts

There are also a number of great resources that providers can use to assist with emergency and disaster planning and response. There are new and updated resources regularly released in response to learnings from recent community emergencies and as new state and federal funding becomes available.

Most information available is useful, irrespective of where you live, so be sure to check out what is available from the states and territories. Here are a few of our faves to get you started.

Disability specific resources

Collaborating 4 Inclusion

Victoria State

Federal Emergency Management Administration (USA)

Bushfire

New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Queensland Government

House fire

New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Floods and storms

Bureau of Meteorology

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)

If you know of any other great resources you think we should share, please drop us a line so we can update this list.

Many councils are also setting up disaster dashboards which link with state agencies. With summer starting, now may be a good time to see what’s new.

DSC courses

Finally, check out DSC’s new online Emergency and Disaster Management course. We cover the requirements of the NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management standard in detail and include a useful gap analysis tool. Or if you are Support Coordinator wanting to explore your role in this area in more detail, please check out this workshop.

We wish you and yours a safe (and disaster-free) festive season.

 


Authors

Paula Spencer

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