8.15 Emergency management
A planned, coordinated and strategic emergency management approach is imperative before, during and after times of unrest and uncertainty to:
- prevent injury or loss of life
- help limit damage to assets, reputation and property
- help maintain the delivery of public services
- assist in the process of recovery
- minimise impact on stakeholders
- influence and inform public debate and discussion
- help establish, maintain or restore public confidence in government.
The terms emergency and crisis management are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and they have been separated in this Policy.
Crisis management (issues management) aims to anticipate emerging issues and plans to influence their development and impact (see section 8.14 Issues / crisis management).
Emergency management is generally reactive, dealing with emergencies and disasters that are often unpredictable and/or unpreventable.
An emergency is an event or significant threat that could endanger human life, property or the environment, or cause or threaten to cause injury or distress to people; and requires a significant response from an agency. An emergency need not pose a serious threat to human life or property but will have a broad ranging impact on the Tasmanian community or sections of the community.
Agency emergency management protocols must:
- include a communication plan/protocols that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of communications and media liaison staff, including using their expertise in preparing messages for staff, other government agencies, the general public and the media
- ensure messages are consistent by coordinating the release of information through all channels, including departmental intranet and internets
- ensure there is a small pool of capable and trained spokespersons available
- ensure a designated unit or officer is responsible for liaising with the Government Communications Office and their Minister’s Office
- immediately notify the Government Communications Office in the event of an emergency.
- practise the efficacy of communications plans when testing or exercising emergency management protocols.
It is recommended that agencies:
- maintain a communication strategy template that takes into account the information needs of internal and external stakeholders and includes an environmental scan of likely problems and opportunities.