News from the CRC

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Dr Mel Taylor, EMPA research award 2018
Dr Mel Taylor, EMPA research award 2018

Animal research awarded

CRC research on how to best plan for animals in an emergency has taken out the inaugural Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) research award, while another project on emergency warnings has been highly commended.

Led by Dr Mel Taylor from Macquarie University, the Managing animals in disasters project received the award at EMPA’s annual conference, held in Melbourne on 3-5 June. The research was recognised by EMPA as leading research that advances emergency communication by improving community resilience, increasing the effectiveness of communication during an emergency response and enabling agencies to better support communities recovering from an adverse event.

The research has identified best practice approaches to animal emergency management, enabling emergency management agencies to obtain the data they need to make better informed decisions on planning and targeting or resources.

The project was a true team effort, explained Dr Taylor.

“It is a real honour for the project to be recognised by EMPA. The team has achieved a lot over the last four years, and we’ve worked with many organisations to not only undertake the research, but to help get the findings implemented into practice,” Dr Taylor said.

“I’d like to particularly thank the Blue Mountains Animal Ready Community, the Springwood Neighbourhood Centre, the Mountains Community Resource Network and the NSW SES for their support.”

CRC CEO, Dr Richard Thornton, said the award was well deserved.

“This was a really important project for the CRC, and for the emergency management sector. When the CRC began our partners told us there was a real gap in knowledge in this area. For the project to win EMPA’s research award really helps to show that not only was the research high quality, but that the findings have been taken up by the industry and are making a real difference in how they operate.”

Along with Dr Taylor, the Managing animals in disasters team includes Dr Kirrilly Thompson (CQUniversity), Dr Lisel O’Dwyer (CQUniversity) Dr Penny Burns (Australian National University), Dr Megan McCarthy (Macquarie University), Greg Eustace (RSPCA Queensland, Rachel Westcott (Western Sydney University) and Dr Brad Smith (CQUniversity).

Emergency warnings receive high commendation

Highly commended by EMPA for their research was CRC research on emergency warnings and flood fatalities. Led by Prof Vivienne Tippett (Queensland University of Technology) and Dr Katharine Haynes (Macquarie University) this research is shaping public warnings and information campaigns that prepare and protect communities from flood, fire, heatwave and other natural hazards in Australia. Insights have combined to equip emergency service agencies around Australia with better-targeted long-term public safety campaigns, as well as urgent warning messages delivered to at-risk populations in the face of imminent natural hazards.

While both projects share the goal of improving community warnings and safety messages distributed by emergency service agencies, each came to the problem from a different perspective – one looked at language structure and content, the other drew from historical records of fatalities.

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