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Evacuation Planning Handbook

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Evacuation is a risk management strategy that may be used to mitigate the effects of an emergency on a community. It involves the movement of people to a safer location and their return. For an evacuation to be effective, it must be appropriately planned and implemented.

This handbook incorporates guidelines and considerations for developing community evacuation plans underpinned by an all-hazards approach. It uses the nationally recognised five stages of the evacuation process as a framework for planning an evacuation. This handbook should be used to guide pre-event community evacuation planning, which will in turn maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of any evacuation that may be required. It is recognised that any generic plan will need to be adaptable for accommodating differences in the time, place and circumstance of a specific emergency.

The 2023 edition incorporates and reflections recommendations, observations and learnings from inquiries following the Black Summer bushfires, and recent catastrophic flooding. Recent events highlight the need for an adaptive, flexible and inclusive approach to evacuation planning. Additionally, this edition focusses on the specific needs of people and groups in communities who may require additional support in preparing for, responding to and recovering from a disaster.  

Recommended reading

McLennan J, Ryan B, Bearman C and Toh K 2018. "Should We Leave Now? Behavioral Factors in Evacuation Under Wildfire Threat," Fire Technology (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0753-8.