Get Ready Animals launch. Photo: NSW State Emergency Service

Using our research

Tools and resources for practical application

Online Tools & Resources

These are online tools developed by our research. They have varied uses, from assessing the flammability of vegetation around Australia, to exploring and comparing recommendations from emergency management inquiries, to showing where and when fire has burnt across the tropical savannas. 

Click the dropdowns to find out more and access the tools. 


A guide to non-technical skills in emergency management was developed as observations from the authors indicated the need to better manage non-technical skills during emergency and incident management; non-technical skills continue to be an area highlighted in investigation reports and inquiries; and discussions with agency partners indicated a a resource like this book would help to educate practitioners deepen their understanding of the non-technical skills literature.

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The book seeks to: introduce and highlight the importance of non-technical skills; identify some of the issues and pitfalls that can occur; and describe tools that can help people better manage non-technical skills in operational situations.

The content of the book necessarily draws heavily on research conducted during by the Improving decision-making in complex multi-team environments project conducted between 2014–2021. By writing this book the authors hope to provide a consistent framework that allows agencies to manage the various aspects of non-technical skills in a more holistic way. This also encourages agencies to adopt a shared language to discuss, promote and manage these important but often neglected sets of skills.

The book is designed for emergency management practitioners and instructors who wish to understand more about non-technical skills. This may be because they want to improve their own knowledge and practice or be better prepared to coach, mentor or instruct others. Learning and development practitioners may find the book a useful reference source for developing non-technical skills training materials or for enhancing these skills within more technically oriented training units (for example, teaching communication skills in the context of relay pumping).


After the Disaster is a podcast series produced by the ABC, supported by the Australian Red Cross and Bushfire Recovery Victoria. Drawing on CRC research, it aims to provide trustworthy information and guidance on how to recovery from a disaster, in a safe and companionable format so that anyone who needs support can access it. There are several episodes, spanning topics such as emotional recovery, managing insurance, helping children recover and how to talk to someone who has survived a disaster. 

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The Australian Disaster Resilience Index is a support tool developed by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC in partnership with the University of New England. The website was developed specifically to help communities, government and emergency services take informed and practical steps to improve the disaster resilience of their local communities before, during and after natural hazards.

The Index is an industry-first assessment of the state of disaster resilience across Australia, and provides a clear pathway to improve decision making about planning, development, policy, engagement and risk assessment.

The Index measures overall disaster resilience, as well as coping capacity and adaptive capacity, of each statistical area (SA2) in Australia. It also proposes five disaster resilience profiles in Australia – nationwide collections of communities that share similar resilience strengths and constraints. This provides users with an opportunity to address the resilience of a specific area, form alliances with organisations in similar areas, and develop targeted improvements for their communities.

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Understanding what is exposed during hazard events is a highly valuable starting point for a variety of sectors. Using CRC research, the Australian Exposure Information Platform quickly and easily allows users to generate exposure reports needed for decision making before, during and after hazard events.

The customised reports provide a detailed statistical summary of the number of people, dwellings, structures, businesses, and agricultural and environmental assets in any specified area across Australia.

The Australian Exposure Information Platform was a key source of information during the 2019/20 bushfire season and is used regularly by more than 50 organisations across government, industry and emergency sectors to produce thousands of reports each month.

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Expanding on the AEIP, the Dynamic Exposure Dashboard gives decision makers the ability to interact dynamically with nationally consistent exposure information for known areas at any time of the day, without waiting for exposure reports.

The Dashboard was created in response to users’ needs to view what is exposed quickly and easily, not only where an event is unfolding, but in areas adjacent to the event.

The Dashboard is currently undergoing maintenance and will available again shortly. 


Effectively providing a clearer picture of immediate fire risks, the Australian Flammability Monitoring System uses satellite data to collect information on live moisture content in trees, shrubs, grass and soil. It then displays this information on an interactive map, which will help fire managers in their prescribed burning efforts and prepositioning of firefighting resources.

The first online mapping tool of its kind to be introduced in Australia, the prototype system uses satellite data to provide a clear picture of the landscape where there are high levels of vegetation and soil dryness, which are the perfect conditions for a severe bushfire.

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The soil moisture data is derived from another CRC-funded prototype system called the JULES-based Australian Soil Moisture Information (JASMIN) system. The JASMIN system estimates soil moisture on four soil layers over the top 3 meters of soil, and takes into account the effect of different vegetation types, root depth, stomatal resistance and spatially varying soil texture. You can access the JASMIN system's raw data here.


Research has found a lack of knowledge in emergency management regarding collective capability requirements and the ability to manage severe-to-catastrophic disasters.

The Capability Maturity Assessment Tool can be used by state and territory emergency management agencies, and at a national level, to assess the current maturity of capabilities within organisations. It uses a series of criteria that align with the National Disaster Preparedness Framework, and provides an overview of how to strengthen coordinated preparedness for severe-to-catastrophic disasters, especially when facing numerous concurrent or sequential disasters that result in resource conflicts.

The tool is easy to use, can be tailored to specific needs and can be used on a longitudinal basis to assist organisations with measuring and reporting on their preparedness.

A Capability Maturity Assessment Facilitator’s Guide has been developed to support the implementation of the tool.

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This Story Map sets out the key steps required to understand coastal erosion in situations where storm clusters are recognised as a possible driver.

The Map begins by providing some background to understanding the context of an eroding shoreline. It uses synthetic storm clusters to drive beach erosion and presents two case studies that model beach response to these synthetic clusters for current sea level conditions. Finally, the Map explores a method for evaluating impact of coastal erosion on infrastructure assets.

Scroll through interactive text, imagery and maps to learn more about understanding the cause, response and impact of coastal erosion.

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CRC research has shaped warnings, public information campaigns and recovery to help emergency services protect communities from floods, bushfires, heatwaves and other natural hazards, and to help communities bounce back after a disaster.

This documentary series highlights some of that research. It follows communications and engagement practitioners from different sectors as they meet the researchers and learn how they can apply this knowledge to their own work.  

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These cultural burning in southern Australia resources were developed through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project, Hazards, culture and Indigenous communities. These research-backed resources are to help fire agencies and land management departments better understand cultural burning.

The Cultural burning in southern Australia booklet and six accompanying posters bring together and uniquely present six diverse personal cultural burning experiences from across southern Australia. The stories showcase the diversity of this cultural practice and the common elements shared across Australia, and are accompanied with stunning illustrations.

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The Guide to disaster Recovery Capitals was designed to support wellbeing and decision making during emergency recovery. As part of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC’s Recovery Capitals project, the guide is the product of an Australia–Aotearoa New Zealand collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Massey University, Australian Red Cross, other researchers, non-government organisations and emergency management agencies.

There are two versions: one for Australia and one for Aotearoa New Zealand. Both versions identify seven community capitals associated with recovery – natural, social, financial, cultural, political, built and human – and highlight the important interconnectedness between each of them. In this context, a capital is defined as the resources that are used to generate more or new resources for the purpose of sustaining and securing wellbeing.  

The guides are practical and can be applied to any type of emergency, large or small. They aim to enhance wellbeing after disasters by supporting evidence-based decision making of individuals, organisations and governments.

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The Diversity and Inclusion Framework was designed in response to needs identified in collaboration with practitioners across the emergency management sector, including the need for greater understanding of the implementation process and role of inclusion, identification of structures and practices to support that implementation, and possible mechanisms that address a lack of diversity and inclusion.

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You can also download support documents that will help you apply the contents of the Framework:

  • Learning as we go: developing effective inclusive management presents case studies and examples of best practice and knowledge, to show that organisations are learning and building as they go and that some of the best resources that emergency management services have are their practitioners. It also provides resource materials that have been developed to support diversity and inclusion practitioners. Download it here. 

  • Young people and the emergency services: working towards inclusive partnerships provides an overview of what is important to young people, their areas of interest and their motivations to engage in their community. It provides strategies (including links to existing resources and checklists) of how to find ways to work with young people, and the skills, attributes and capabilities that young people bring to an organisation. Download it here. 

  • Building inclusive partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities provides basic guidance for emergency services practitioners to support the building of respectful and inclusive partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It focuses on general guidance that applies when working with all CALD communities, however each community will have its own context and character, so it's important to be mindful of the need to adapt practices to work with each community's specific needs. Download it here. 


Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researchers at the University of Western Australia developed two economic analysis tools that can be used by economics professionals, planners and natural hazards managers to inform decision making and risk mitigation. 

  • The Economic Analysis Screening Tool allows you to determine the economic benefits of natural hazard risk management projects and compare the relative benefits of different options. 
  • The Value Tool for Natural Hazards contains relevant values for intangible benefits and costs that can be incorporated into economic analyses, including the Economic Analysis Screening Tool. 

The Economic Analysis Screening Tool is a spreadsheet that provides a way to quickly assess different mitigation options, based on the best return on investment. This tool uses values from sources, including the Value Tool for Natural Hazards. It can be used to understand the value for money that managers can expect from investing in a single mitigation options, or to compare the relative benefits of a range of mitigation options, including the impacts on tangible (market) and intangible (non-market) values affected by natural hazards. It is intended to provide natural hazard managers with an overview of the options that are most worth developing business cases for, so that they can prioritise the type and quantity of information that is needed to improve decisions and the confidence in those decisions. 

Read guidelines

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The Value Tool for Natural Hazards is an online database of peer-reviewed intangible economic values – such as health, environmental and social values – associated with the impacts of natural hazards. The values provided are designed to be used within the Economic Analysis Screening Tool and in other economic analyses, and should be used according to the guidelines for use. This tool incorporates annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases to the values, allowing users to use values corrected to the relevant date.

Read guidelines

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Extreme sea levels result from the combined effects of a range of factors including astronomical tides, long-term sea-level variability, storm surges due to pressure and wind, and wave breaking processes. In order to protect life and property, coastal planners and emergency managers require accurate estimates of flood risk.

Providing reliable predictions of extreme sea levels for this purpose represents a significant challenge due to the range of complex processes that vary from beach to beach, town to town, and state to state around the entire Australian continent.

Extreme value analysis has been applied to sea level data to predict Average Recurrence Intervals at ~1km spacing around the entire Australian coastline including islands. These statistics and relevant plots and time series data have been made available to the public via an interactive web tool, providing a consistent, accessible, up-to-date dataset for use by coastal planners and emergency managers.

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Search through 315 emergency management inquiries and reviews from across Australia between 1886 and 2020.

The data can be sorted via disaster and inquiry type, date and jurisdiction using a simple table display. For more in-depth analysis, CSV files can be downloaded allowing you to run local queries and reports. The database also contains the full recommendations from 186 inquiries and reviews between 2003 and 2020. A facetted exploration interface enables a filter-search of 4,194 recommendations, allowing effective search and comparison through keywords and themes.

This database can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • To compare equivalent recommendations between inquiries, themes and jurisdictions
  • To track inquiries across jurisdiction, year and types
  • To download and work with all inquiries and listed recommendations for the particular needs of your organisation

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This resource is a program of ten training units that provide practical support and reinforcement of capabilities in remote northern communities. The units interweave a set of philosophical and practical understandings of the management of landscapes for natural hazards in a changing climate, as well as the integration of Indigenous knowledge and experience with non-Indigenous approaches.

Before accessing this Dropbox page with the training units, PDF icon download and read the training manual

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The Prescribed Burning Atlas is a website designed specifically to assist and inform prescribed burning strategies so that land and fire managers can tailor their burning strategies to outcomes that will best reduce the risk in a target area within available budgets.

Developed through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC in partnership with the University of Wollongong, University of Melbourne and Western Sydney University, the Prescribed Burning Atlas incorporates thousands of fire simulations to compare the level of risk reduction achieved from different combinations of prescribed burning techniques. The Atlas also compares the costs of different mitigation options and their effect on reducing the likelihood of life loss, property loss and landscape damage, as well as the effects of climate change on prescribed burning effectiveness.

It covers 13 different landscape types across New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, comprising different types of landscapes such as temperate forests, grasslands, savannas, deserts, woodlands and scrub.

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Australian lives are being saved by CRC research that is shaping warnings and public information campaigns to prepare and protect communities threatened by flood, fire, heatwave and other natural hazards.

The National Emergency Management Handbook Public Information and Warnings by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, together with the companion guide, Warning Message Construction: Choosing Your Words, draws directly on research from the Effective risk and warning communication during natural hazards project to give guidance on the key considerations for writing effective warning messages, including structures and language styles for specific audiences, such as high-risk groups and non-English speaking communities. In 2021, the research team were essential to the updated second edition, reviewing the handbook to provide advice on new research to be included, as well as updating the companion guide.

The insights presented in the Handbook are equipping emergency service agencies around Australia with better-targeted long-term public safety campaigns as well as evidence-based warning messages delivered to at-risk populations in the face of imminent natural hazard threats.

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The Pyrocumulonimbus Firepower Threshold is diagnostic technology that measures the threshold or minimum firepower required for fire-generated thunderstorms to form, essentially assessing the atmospheric potential to support the development of a fire sufficiently large and intense for one of these storms to develop. It helps predict when these storms might occur, so that fire agencies can warn communities and firefighters. 

The Pyrocumulonimbus Firepower Threshold is used internally at weather forecasting services, such as the Bureau of Meteorology, as well as fire agencies across the country. For more information about this tool, visit the research project page


Assessing risk ownership for managing natural hazards is complex because natural hazard risks can resonate across long timeframes and have multiple organisations responsible.

The Risk Ownership Framework for Emergency Management Policy and Practice was developed to support better allocation of risk ownership as part of strategic planning and risk assessment activities on an institutional scale. Applicable to all communities and all hazards, the Framework uses a values-based approach as a starting point for understanding and assessing emergency risks, clarifying risk ownership, evaluating benefits and decisions, enhancing risk management and monitoring activities, and informing disaster risk policy.

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This online tool evaluates the effects of fire where burnt area mapping is available across the Northern Territory, large parts of Western Australia, and Northern Queensland. It assesses nearly twenty years of data to show where bushfires have burnt, at what time of year (early or late dry season) and when an area was last burnt.

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New evidence-based tools have been created to help emergency volunteer leaders with all stages of volunteer management, including recruitment, onboarding, retention and succession planning. These tools are the product of a partnership between the CRC, Curtin University, University of Western Australia, and Department of Fire and Emergency Services (WA).

The Recruitment and Retention Toolkit for Emergency Volunteer Leaders supports emergency services leaders with their volunteer management practices, including easy-to-use guides about recruiting volunteers for emergency services, supporting new volunteers, volunteer management, emergency volunteer recruitment messaging, and volunteer succession planning.

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The Recruitment Messaging Toolkit helps recruiters decide what to say to prospective volunteers about the volunteering experience, to boost recruitment and retention. It provides guidance and imagery to use to make sure the messaging is appealing to non-volunteers, while also providing a realistic account of the experience and setting the right expectations. 

Before using the Recruitment Messaging Toolkit, it is recommended that you read the instructions. 

Read instructions

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Incident management and emergency management teams respond to emergencies day and night. Decision makers in these teams are often confronted with emergencies that are dynamic, complex and uncertain, with several agencies involved. These complex contexts can lead to an increased number of poor decisions and errors being made. It’s important to acknowledge that errors and poor decisions will occur, and to seek and manage them in an informed and systematic way.

Forming part of the Improving decision making in complex multi-team environments project, these six tools – four team management tools and two strategic decision-making tools – were developed to improve teamwork and enable strategic decision making in emergency management. 


Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoire

This tool assists emergency management teams in dealing with breakdowns in communication. It is a checklist that helps to recognise team breakdowns through their outputs (for example, incident action plans) and formal/informal organisational networks. It also offers a five-step practical resolution strategy.

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Team Process Checklist

This tool assists emergency management teams in dealing with breakdowns in communication. It is designed to provide a health check for teams and, if there is a problem, to help determine what the problem is. This checklist helps people think through three aspects of effective teamwork: communication, coordination and cooperation.

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This tool is also to download in Spanish here.

You can also download a how-to guide for the Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoire and Team Process Checklist here

Emergency Management Non-Technical Skills

This tool is designed to help emergency management individuals and teams to enhance their cognitive, social and personal skills (known as non-technical skills) to complement technical skills and strengthen individual and team capabilities. It focuses on seven non-technical skills – communication, coordination, cooperation, leadership, situation awareness, decision-making, and coping with stress/fatigue – and provides descriptions and behavioural markers that can be used to determine how effectively these skills are being used and where improvements can be made. 

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Download the PDF version here

Key Tasks Cognitive Aid

This tool is a checklist for regional and state control centres. It is designed to prompt leaders during a crisis to ensure their teams are undertaking the tasks that are most important to effective performance. It covers five phases of a control centre’s incident management process: readiness, escalation, coordination, de-escalation, and termination. Within each phase is a checklist that can be used to tick off the key activities required. 

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Download the PDF version here


Psychological Safety Checklist

This checklist can be used to create a psychologically safe decision-making environment. The checklist acknowledges that there are simple strategies to use so that people can feel safe while enhancing or establishing trusting relationships very quickly.

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Download the PDF version here.

Cognitive Bias Aide Memoire

This tool can be used by teams to identify cognitive biases in the decision-making process. It is best used for key decisions and involves two steps: 1) assessing available information, intelligence and decisions and 2) determining the meaning of the information, intelligence and decisions. 

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Download the PDF version here.


These resources were designed with and for emergency services across Australia and New Zealand, to test their existing strategies and practices against a set of plausible futures that we are likely to see between now and 2035.

The plausible futures are based on the scientific consensus that there will be a continuation of existing climate trends, and an increasing volatility, frequency and magnitude of weather extremes. Each scenario reveals different degrees and combinations of governance (for example, long-term strategic governance) and social cohesion (for example, strong community support).

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Researchers at James Cook University’s (JCU) Cyclone Testing Station, in partnership with Geoscience Australia and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, have developed a new website called Weather the Storm to inform builders and homeowners about how to improve an existing home’s key structural connections against extreme wind.

Accessible at, the website is based on CRC research that explored the ways that different types of maintenance and retrofitting can protect an older house from damage at different wind speeds, and devised practical and economic options for upgrading existing houses. The findings of this research formed a set of guidelines, which were built into the new Weather the Storm website.

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Workforce 2030

Australia is undergoing major and rapid changes that will affect how people work and volunteer with the emergency services in the future. So, what are the major emergency management trends and what can be done to prepare emergency service workforces for the year 2030?

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC’s Workforce 2030 Research Advisory Forum, held in 2019, highlighted that the risk profile of the nation is changing, driven by a range of environmental, social and economic factors. In response, the Enabling sustainable emergency volunteering project team collaborated further on Workforce 2030, specifically to build up an overview picture of emergency workforce challenges and opportunities likely to face emergency service organisations over the coming decade.

The research undertaken for Workforce 2030 contextualises and adds to existing research within the emergency management sector. Importantly, it outlines how wider trends and developments from outside emergency management that will play a major role in shaping the emergency services workforce over the coming decade, as well as potential implications. 

Watch overview video

Download key report

Four animated videos accompany the overview video and the report, and ask workers and managers alike to imagine ‘what if...’:

The workforces of Australia’s fire, emergency services and rural land management agencies are crucial to Australia’s emergency management capability. These workforces include career and volunteer members, first responders and technical and administrative support staff. Anyone involved in workforce planning can use this research to inform their strategies.

This research can also help planners in other emergency response services, such as ambulance, surf lifesaving and marine rescue, as well as a range of other organisations that coordinate and support the wider emergency management workforce.


These resources were developed as part of the CRC's Tactical Research Fund project, Positive mental health in young adult emergency services personnel.

Each resource provides practical evidence-based tools to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in young adult (16-25 year old) emergency service volunteers. Developed directly with young people, these can be used at an individual, local and organisational level to minimise the impact of traumatic experiences of volunteering

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The young volunteer positive mental health and wellbeing resources included here are:

  • Care4Guide in three formats:
  1. The Care4Guide PDF booklet can be viewed online, saved or downloaded.
  2. The Interactive Care4Guide can be completed online.
  3. The web installer module can be used to embed the Interactive Care4Guide within external systems, including on agency websites (see instructions below).

The Care4Guide is a self-completed guide to positive mental health and wellbeing as a young fire and emergency service volunteer. This guide is designed to be used by volunteers to maintain and practice positive mental health. It can also be used by leaders and organisations to promote positive mental health and wellbeing within fire and emergency services and other volunteer-based organisations. 

  • The Care4Guide videos and animations can be shared within organisations or on social media to further promote positive mental health. 
  • The Care4Guide posters can be downloaded, printed (for hanging in organisations) or shared online. 
  • The Care4Guide social media assets can be downloaded for sharing online, designed especially for social media. 
  • The Fact Sheets of key findings, highlighting the research-based evidence behind the Care4Guide and other resources, can be downloaded, printed or shared online. 

There is also a Young Volunteer Wellbeing Framework and an Agency Implementation Guide, which are both accessible in the project final report, for fire and emergency service organisations to support the mental health and wellbeing of young adult volunteers.