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									                                            WESTERN AUSTRALIA


                                   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


RESOLUTION NUMBER:                           13/2009

DATE APPROVED:                               10 March 2009

State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6                                           1

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

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.


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.


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.


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).


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

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.


20. State Emergency Hazard Plans (Westplans) are required to detail the
    procedures and activities to be underaken to provide emergency public

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

29. Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) or special needs groups should be
    considered in any emergency public information and education arrangements.


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.


1. Common Alerting Protocol (CAPS) format for warnings and alerts

State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6                                            5

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


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

    • 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

State Emergency Management Policy No. 4.6                                              6

    •    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’


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

  • 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>
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?>


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

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