The economic cost of emergencies in Australia over the past decade averages $18.2 billion per year, and the real cost in terms of human suffering and environmental damage is larger. A key to minimising the cost and effects of emergencies, after all reasonable risk reduction measures have been taken, is effective emergency planning.
Emergency planning plays an important role in the development of Australia’s disaster resilience capability. The Emergency Planning Handbook reflects changes in the field of disaster risk reduction, emergency management and more broadly in society since the publication of the previous Emergency Planning Manual (2004).
The handbook contextualises key messages for emergency planning as considered in the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (COAG 2011), National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework (Australian Government Department of Home Affairs 2018), Profiling Australia’s Vulnerability (Australian Government Department of Home Affairs 2018), the Australian Disaster Preparedness Framework (Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, 2018) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015).
The handbook provides nationally agreed principles for good practice in emergency planning and draws on and complements current practices. The handbook introduces the strategic context and importance of emergency planning, the emergency planning process, the potential elements of an emergency plan, the actions needed to implement the plan and to monitoring and evaluation.
Additionally, it introduces the application of a project management approach to the development of an emergency plan and recognises the need to plan for uncertainty. The approach in the handbook can be applied to developing emergency plans for all hazards and may cover all the phases of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.