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Flood Emergency Planning for Disaster Resilience Handbook

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Flooding poses a significant risk to Australian communities and it is essential that proactive flood emergency plans are developed to guide responses. Average annual economic losses for floods have been estimated to be greater than cyclones, storms, bushfires and earthquakes, costing Australia $8.8 billion annually (ABR 2017).

Flood Emergency Planning for Disaster Resilience is part of the Australian Disaster Resilience Handbook Collection. It fulfils a critical role in ongoing improvement to the sector’s disaster preparation, response, and recovery under the policy framework established by the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (COAG 2011).

The handbook provides guidance to inform the development of flood emergency plans by outlining a series of national principles and processes. Key considerations are outlined for specific capabilities and environments. The handbook is applicable to all communities across Australia and all levels of planning. It will also assist to provide guidance and information applicable to total warning systems and community engagement.

The handbook supersedes a review of three Flood Manuals originally developed in the 1990s and last updated in 2009:

  • Flood Preparedness (Manual 20)
  • Flood Response (Manual 22)
  • Emergency Management for Planning for Floods Affected by Dams (Manual 23)

This handbook addresses changes to flood emergency planning and the broader issues that have emerged and that are understood more clearly since publication of the manuals in 2009, including:

  • the nature of flood risks, improvements in flood information
  • development of a National Framework for Flood Warning Infrastructure
  • changes in technology that facilitate improved information and its sharing
  • risk assessment
  • critical importance of community engagement
  • shift in consequence based thinking
  • focus on interoperability
  • scenario modelling.

Companion documents to this handbook will provide further guidance on flood warnings systems and community engagement. The companion document on flood warning will supersede the 2009 manual Flood Warning (Manual 21).

Handbook Showcase webinar

Guest speakers:

Ian Dinham, President FMA

Andrew Gissing, Handbook Writer, Risk Frontiers

Mike Lollback, Manager Assist Services, Local Government Association of Queensland

Duncan McLuckie, Principal Flood Specialist, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Angela Toniato, Senior Natural Resource Officer, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Tamsin Achilles, Manager Emergency Management Planning, Victoria State Emergency Service


Amanda Leck, Former Executive Director AIDR