When a disaster occurs, everyone knows what to do and
can do it

Everyone needs to know what to do and can do it when a disaster occurs

Being prepared can save lives, prevent or reduce losses and can help recovery from disasters. Tasmanians need to be aware of relevant warnings and how to keep up with current key information about events.

TasALERT is the main channel for the Tasmanian government to share online warnings and other information before, during and after a disaster.  ABC radio and TV can also be useful information resources. There are warning systems for specific hazards established, under development or being implemented such as the Bureau of Meterology weather warnings and the Australian Fire Danger Warning System. The video below provides a brief overview of Public information and warnings in Tasmania.

EM Sector plans

Tasmania’s EM sector needs to deploy and escalate response and recovery actions like a well-oiled machine. Information regarding the Prevention Prepare Response and Recovery (PPRR)  stages of Emergency management are in the TEMA. This relies on practical, practised and up-to-date plans plus established public and operational information sharing mechanisms and administrative arrangements that are ready to be used when needed. The plans are stored on WebEOC as well as local Government Municipal websites and relevant organisations websites.

  • Continually review to Tasmania’s EM plans and other arrangements
  • Use lessons learned from events and exercises, ongoing risk assessments and other evidence and evaluation to inform improvements.
  • Personnel are the core of Tasmania’s EM sector, both paid and volunteer and they need to be valued, supported and developed
  • This includes administrative and technical systems and support
  • Government agencies also need to adapt to address emerging risks, such as those associated with climate change.

Relief and recovery facilitate long-term, disaster resilience. Recovery support encompasses all aspects of recovery to facilitate long-term resilience. Recovery aims to support individuals, communities, businesses and the natural and cultural environment to deal with the impacts of a disaster. All sectors of the community, including the private sector, can play important roles in community recovery.

It is important that such involvement is coordinated and collaborative to:

  • Ensure that resourcing is targeted and appropriate to risk
  • Enhance ongoing disaster resilience.

Recovery includes:

  • Social Recovery
  • Infrastructure Recovery
  • Economic Recovery
  • Environmental Recovery

There are also recovery issues related to cultural heritage.

DRR is an opportunity, not a sunk cost

Disaster risks cause economic and other losses even before a disaster strikes. Investing in reducing disaster risks can contribute to wealth, well-being and economic growth – even without disasters occurring. The triple dividend of resilience recognises that reducing disaster risks provides value by:

  • Saving lives and avoiding losses
  • Unlocking economic potential 
  • Leveraging co-benefits.

Investing in disaster risk reduction and community resilience contributes to:

  • Reduced diversion of resources to disaster response and recovery
  • Increased local citizen participation, such as volunteering or attending forums
  • Increased investment in anticipation of fewer disaster losses
  • More balanced ecosystems from, for example, fuel reduction burns leading to greater variety of flora and fauna, with flow tourism and other benefits.

 

Reducing risks as an enabler of economic growth

The real or perceived threat of a future disaster can impact on current decisions and economic growth. Reducing these background risks can have immediate economic benefits. Increased resilience enables more forward-looking planning, long term investments and entrepreneurial activity. Disaster resilience measures contribute to development, poverty alleviation and fiscal stability and growth.

If risks are seen to be reduced, studies have shown individuals, households and firms are more likely to take entrepreneurial risks and pursue innovation which can stimulate socio-economic benefits. Measures such as flood protection can enable economic activity, long-term planning and investments. Cities with high risk profiles such as New York, Rotterdam and Singapore use their disaster and climate change resilience achievements to attract investment. Disaster resilience investments protect not only large firms and their assets, but also their workers, suppliers and supply chains, so the entire area can benefit.

 

Co-benefits of disaster resilience investments

Many actions to reduce risks provide benefits beyond reduced disaster impacts. Different measures will provide various levels of benefits and have differing timespans. For example, land use planning can greatly reduce risk exposure, but the benefits may not be realised for some time.

Examples of risk reduction investments:

Examples of co-benefits:

  • Creates employment and flow-on economic benefits
  • Lower insurance and maintenance costs

Examples of co-benefits:

Buildings used for multiple community purposes.

Examples of co-benefits:

Better year-round water supply, improved water sanitation and flow on health benefits.

Examples of co-benefits:

Increased social connectedness and skill development.

That brings us to the completion of this module

In Summary

Tasmanians are resilient, but also vulnerable and at risk.We need to consider the following:

  • We can always do more to make sure we cope with and bounce back from disasters.
  • We learn from past events to reduce risks and to prepare.
  • Disaster resilience is about everyone working together, using the best available evidence, to understand and reduce risks and prepare for disasters.
  • It is about acting beforehand to reduce the impacts of disasters on communities and the environment.