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1 STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Emergency Public
WESTERN AUSTRALIA STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Emergency Public Information State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 Amendment List No Date Details By 10/03/2009 Replaces SEMC Policy No. 2 RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: Executive Officer State Emergency Management Committee DATE FOR REVIEW: 10 March 2014 APPROVED SEMC RESOLUTION NUMBER: 13/2009 DATE APPROVED: 10 March 2009 State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 1 DEFINITIONS 1. Alert: A condition or period of heightened watchfulness or preparation for action when it is believed that resources may be required which enable an increased level of preparedness. 2. Community Alert: A community alert is issued to warn the community of a period danger and provide safety advice on what to do relative to the risks. 3. Community Warning: a community warning provide information to the public so people can take appropriate action to reduce losses during an actual or developing emergency situation. 4. Emergency Public Information (EPI): Information provided to the community during emergency situations with instructions on how to get assistance or to protect personal health, safety and property. Information can be provided through the media and a range of other tools to reach intended stakeholders. 5. Emergency Public Information Coordinator: The person appointed at State, district or local level to coordinate arrangements for emergency public information support to Hazard Management Agencies at the respective level. The State Emergency Public Information Coordinator (SEPIC) is appointed by the State Emergency Coordinator. At district and local, levels emergency public information coordinators are appointed by the respective District or Local Emergency Management Committee. 6. Evacuation/Relocation Warnings: Timely information and advice that is vital to allow householders to make informed decisions on whether to relocate when threatened by an emergency. 7. Information: Knowledge based on a collection of facts and data related to specific events or circumstances that have been gathered or received by communication, intelligence or news. 8. Media: Those organisations that disseminate information by radio, television, newsprint or the internet to the general public. 9. Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS): A distinct sound approved by the State Emergency Management Committee to indicate an emergency announcement follows. 10. State Public Advice Line (SPAL): A telephone call centre facility that may be established by the State Emergency Public Iinformation Coordinator to receive and respond to general inquiries from the public regarding an emergency. 11. Warning:Information provided to people at risk before or during an incident/emergencies advising them to take appropriate action to reduce losses. State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 2 12. Warning System: A suite of procedures and protocols established to inform individuals and communities about emerging or current threats and how to respond to reduce risk of death, injury, property loss and damage. INTRODUCTION 13. Western Australia is subject to a wide variety of hazards that have the potential to cause substantial loss of life and/or damage and destruction within the State. These hazards result from natural or man made events and may range in severity from minor to catastrophic. 14. Communities threatened by these hazards need accurate and timely information to alert them to an emergency, or possible emergency, and to instruct or direct them to take appropriate precautions. Communities need to know what is likely to happen (or has happened), what to do and what to expect thereafter. 15. The provision of this information is an integral part of the State’s emergency management arrangements which forms the basis of the support plan WESTPLAN Public Information. AUTHORITY 16. Section 17 of the Emergency Management Act 2005 (the Act) provides for: (1) The State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) to arrange for the preparation of State emergency management polices. (2) State emergency management policies are to include provision for: (a) a strategic framework for emergency management in the state; (b) the roles and responsibilities of emergency management agencies; and (c) other matters that are prescribed by the regulations. DELEGATION 17. The role of the SEMC subcommittee, Public Information Group (PING) is to develop and maintain arrangements for the provision of public information and public education related to emergencies. SEMC delegate the responsibility for the review of this policy and WESTPLAN Public Information to the SEMC Public Information Group (PING). APPLICATION 18. This policy applies to agencies designated as Hazard Management Agencies,Combat Agencies, Support Organisations and is complementary to the State’s emergency management arrangements outlined in WESTPLAN Public Information. State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 3 AIM 19. This policy documents the responsibilties and requirements for HMAs, Combat Agencies, Support Organisations in providing timely accurate and consistent warning and alert emergency public information to communities at risk. This policy should be read in conjunction with WESTPLAN Public Information. HMA AND SUPPORT AGENCY PLANS 20. State Emergency Hazard Plans (Westplans) are required to detail the procedures and activities to be underaken to provide emergency public information. 21. Agencies responsible for health and medical services, recovery and welfare services are required to detail their arrangements for emergency public information in State Emergency Support Plans. 22. Agencies should only provide public information on areas for which they have direct jurisdiction and responsibility. 23. Any information being released publicly during an Emergency Situation or a State of Emergency, as defined by the Act, should also be forwarded to the relevant local, district or State EPIC. 24. The arrangements for providing emergency public information apply equally to local level plans. In the initial stages of an Emergency Situation or a State of Emergency, as defined by the Act, action may be required at the local level in relation to time sensitive hazards, such as for bushfire. 25. The HMA will decide what to include in its emergency public information and when it will be disseminated. The HMA may seek assistance from the State Emergency Public Information Cooridnator in developing and coordinating emergency public information. 26. The release of emergency public information should be coordinated with other agencies and the relevant Emergency Public Information Coordinator as much as possible. 27. The Operations Area Manager and/or the Incident Controller, or delegate, will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy and approval of the emergency public information content, for the coordination of emergency public information with all other relevant emergency management agencies and for terminating the broadcast of emergency public information. 28. Consideration should be given to the disemination of information through multiple delivery channels to ensure effective distribution. When deciding on communication delivery methods the HMA should ensure the method of delivery is relevant to the current circumstances (i.e. urgency, type of information, size of distribution area, community demographics etc.) State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 4 SPECIAL NEEDS CONSIDERATIONS 29. Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) or special needs groups should be considered in any emergency public information and education arrangements. COOPERATION WITH THE MEDIA 30. The SEMC may enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU’s) with media organisations to formalise relationships and agreements to broadcast warnings and public information. HMAs will comply with these agreements where established, as per WESTPLAN Public Information. 31. Education of the media in relation to their role and responsibilities, is the responsibility of the SEPIC with oversight by the Public Information Group of the SEMC. Appendices 1. Common Alerting Protocol (CAPS) format for warnings and alerts State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 5 RISK MANAGEMENT This policy seeks to minimise risks by ensuring appropriate systems and procedures for emergency public ifnormation are in place. This policy identifies the repsonsibilities of Hazard Management Agenices with regard to developing and implementing protocols and standards for emergency public informaiton. This policy also ensures that key stakeholder collaboration and community expectations are addressed. In order to reduce risk, an assessment was conducted (refer to risk statements below) and a range of references studied, followed by wide consulation being undertaken. RISK ASSESSMENT If a State emergency management policy related to emergency public information is not implemented, the risks to State emergency management practice include: • the community may not be adequately informed of likely and actual consequences related to an Emergency Situation or a State of Emergency; • emergeny public information maynot be effectively or efficiently received by members of the public in order for them to make informed decisions in relation to saving life and property; • lack of consistency and guidance in public emergency planning and preparation, as well as during emergency response and recovery from an emergencies; • adequate systems and procedures may not be sufficiently robust nor supported by effective redundancy arrangements; • the flow of emergency public information may be compromised if easy-to- use and easy-to-access systems are not employed; • information systems may not be shared widely; • information systems may not be used effectively in order to maintain the required level of skills and knowledge; and • Information systems may be activated wrongly or misued in a public emergency. State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 6 REFERENCES • Emergency Management Act 2005 • SEMP 4.7 – Community Evacuation Policy • SEMP 4.2 – Funding for Emergencies Policy • WESTPLAN Public Information • The ‘WA Position Statement on Evacuation and Protection of People and Property Endangered by Bushfires’ CONSULTATION The following agencies and organisations have been contacted to provide feedback on this document during its development: • State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) including the relevant sub-committees • Emergency Management WA • The member agencies of the Public Information Group of SEMC • The WA Metropolitan Programme Manager, ABC Local Radio • The WA Regional Programme Manager, ABC Local Radio State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 7 Appendix 1 COMMON ALERTING PROTOCOL Guideline for formatting emergency public information warnings and alerts <TITLE: Select from: Community Warning Community Alert Evacuation/Relocation Advice Community Watch/Information Update> This is an official notice from the <name of Hazard Management Agency> FROM and TO: This <type of information> isurrent between <date time> and <date time> Headline: At < time> <day>, the <name of HMA> advises < Define the nature of the alert or warning, Define the target population area/locality> Description of situation: This advice is correct as at < time> <day> < What did or is about to happen? Where did it or is it about to happen? When did or is it likely to happen? What has been done to date and what is proposed to be done?> Instructions: Keep listening to ABC local radio and other media for further information and advice. <any other public safety instruction or information> Contact details: People needing emergency assistance can call <phone number>. In a life-threatening emergency call 000 For information about <name of hazard> contact the <name of HMA> Web url: For further information visit <hma web address> State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6 8
"1 STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Emergency Public"