News from the CRC

sydney_storm_front_250415_flickr_credit_cksydney_web.jpg

This research is informing emergency warnings for a storms, fires, floods and cyclones. Photo: cksydney, Flickr
This research is informing emergency warnings for a storms, fires, floods and cyclones. Photo: cksydney, Flickr
Release date
02 Feb 2017
More information:
Prof Vivienne Tippett
Project Leader

Enhancing emergency warnings

With the multitude of warnings issued when an emergency hits, how can emergency services ensure their critical safety advice is heard and acted upon, rather than dismissed as noise? Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research undertaken through the Queensland University of Technology is helping emergency services warn communities by actively testing the wording and structure of warning messages to better understand how messages are understood and translated into direct action. The Connecting communities and resilience team, led by Prof Vivienne Tippett, have sought to support broader initiatives in the communications and warnings space, not just for individual organisations, but also at the national level by providing reviews and assisting with the development of evidence based warning doctrine.

The researchers are collaborating closely with the industry, with the Inspector-General of Emergency Management Queensland, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Emergency Management Victoria, Victoria State Emergency Service, Country Fire Authority, New South Wales State Emergency Service, Country Fire Service, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology all requesting reviews of their warning information.

Katherine Philp, Manager Regional Engagement at the Bureau of Meteorology, believes the research is providing valuable insights that will make a difference.

“We are working to constantly improve our communication, particularly during severe weather, so the observations and findings are of huge interest,” she says.

Local councils are also benefiting, with the Bundaberg Regional Council looking at the frequency of their warnings, the wording of the information they disseminate during an emergency, along with the delivery methods.

“Improvements to existing pre-formatted warnings will be captured in the next review of the Bundaberg Local Disaster Management Plan and subordinate plans,” says Matt Dyer, the council’s Disaster Management Officer.

The council is also considering how to involve the community in future warning development and identifying how local citizens would best receive warnings that are practicable and timely.

“Minds have been expanded; opportunities have been glimpsed and a realisation had that there is an existing and emerging body of information that can be integrated into local arrangements,” Mr Dyer says.

“The Bundaberg Local Disaster Management Group is proud to model an example of how to build relationships across sectors to the greater disaster management good.”

SEQwater are also benefiting from the science, and have sought input from the team on how to improve their messaging about releasing water from dam’s during a flood, with a focus on achieving proactive action by the community.

Highlighting the wide-reaching implications of this research, ABC local radio in Wide Bay, Queensland, are also engaged with the research team, looking at ways they can improve their emergency broadcasting.

More news from the CRC

Firefighters training for a structure fire.
The next round of funding is available for the CRC’s Tactical Research Fund, established to support short-duration research projects to meet the near term needs of Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC partners.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is set to commence five new short-term research projects as part of the CRC Tactical Research Fund.
Workshop participants at the OCEANIA Ecosystem Services forum, Brisbane
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research has been presented at an ecosytems and indigenous wellbeing conference in Brisbane recently.
A very large debris flow near Licola (East Gippsland, Victoria) after 2007 bushfires.
Heavy rain in areas burnt by bushfire can mobilise massive volumes of sediments and nutrients into rivers and water reservoirs, threatening the quality and supply of water to Australia’s capital and regional cities and...
AJEM cover April 2017
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC science is a feature of the April edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, released this week.
Floods can cause severe damage to bridges, roads and other infrastructure. Credit: Dana Fairhead.
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC PhD student Maryam Nasim has been awarded the Austroads Young Engineer Best Paper Award at the Austroards Bridge Conference 2017.
Clarence River, Grafton, NSW
This is the April 2017 newsletter from the Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end-users.
Dr Gavin Smith addresses the 2016 Research Forum.
Science and the latest learnings from across emergency management will feature at AFAC17 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, the annual Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference.
The UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC partner Geoscience Australia is co-hosting a pre-conference workshop at the upcoming Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico on 23 May 2017.
Adelaide floods
CRC research is informing community flood warning campaigns, emergency services training and national policy initiatives.

News archives

All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Explore by keyword