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Community Engagement for Disaster Resilience Handbook

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Disaster resilience cannot be developed for, or on behalf of, communities but relies on the sharing of information, understanding, decision-making, responsibility and resourcing within and between communities and partners.

Community engagement is a critical component of emergency management and action to reduce disaster risk and strengthen resilience. The new Community Engagement for Disaster Resilience handbook presents nationally agreed principles of community engagement for disaster resilience and provides high-level guidance to support those who engage with communities at all phases of disaster. It draws on contemporary knowledge, skills, and good practice from the fields of public participation, community development, emergency management, disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience.

The guidance presented in the Handbook reflects strengths-based, inclusive approaches that improve the quality and effectiveness of community engagement practices and maximise inclusion and participation to achieve effective disaster resilience outcomes.

The handbook incorporates a review of and supersedes the following publications:

  • Communicating with People with a Disability: National Guidelines for Emergency Managers (2013)
  • National Strategy for Disaster Resilience: Community Engagement Framework (2013)
  • Manual 44 - Guidelines for Emergency Management in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities (2007).

Handbook Showcase webinar

This 60 minute webinar invites leading Australian experts to unpack the principles and practice of community engagement for disaster resilience.

Guest speakers:

Dr Margaret Moreton, Leva Consulting and writer of the handbook

Dr Moreton works with communities to identify, understand and strengthen their assets; prepare for all hazards; and strengthen resilience and recovery from disasters and emergencies.

She advises and works with all levels of government, and with non-government organisations including philanthropic foundations. She advocates for the resilience of communities and the importance of community agency and voice.

Dr Moreton is an advisory group member with the IAP2 (Vic), a graduate of the AICD, an Executive Committee member for the AWE Network, a member of the Disaster Resilience Education Strategy Group (AIDR) and is working with the GAP Resilience Taskforce.

Alana Pedler, Australian Red Cross

Alana Pedler is the State Operations Coordinator for the Australian Red Cross - Emergency Services program with 10 years of experience in emergency and disaster response and recovery within Australia supporting communities impacted by cyclone, severe flooding, bushfires and heatwaves and other traumatic events impacting the community.

She has managed a number of emergency preparedness projects with a strong focus on collaboration and co-design. Supporting and building resilience to extreme weather and natural disasters with members of the community at a higher risk, such as people experiencing homelessness and those from a culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Peter Middleton, Tasmania Fire Service

Peter is the Coordinator Community Development at Tasmania Fire Service (TFS). He has a passion for evidence-based community engagement in emergency management.

Coordinating a team of community engagement specialists who develop community capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to bushfires and fires in the home. Including the multi-award-winning Bushfire-Ready Neighbourhoods program which increases shared responsibility and has a vision that 'we all play a part- individuals, agencies and communities'.

Peter chairs the TFS/SES Public Information Coordination Group, sits on the AFAC Public Information and Warnings Group and holds a Master of Emergency Management.


Amanda Leck, Former Executive Director AIDR