Sandra Whight

Board member
Sandra Whight

Sandra is the General Manager Decision Support Services at the Bureau of Meteorology.

She is 25 years into her career with fire, which started in land management as a Ranger in NSW and bushfire specialist and was recently the Director of Community Fire Safety at the Tasmania Fire Service. She holds a Science Degree (with Honours) from the University of Sydney, and a Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management).  In 2004 she commenced with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, working in bushfire policy and operations. In 2013 she joined the Tasmania Fire Service, overseeing structural changes to the State Fire Management Council, and implementing the whole-of-government Fuel Reduction Program. In 2017 she commenced as the Director of Community Fire Safety responsible for prevention and mitigation programs undertaken by the TFS, including education and regulation.

She is the co-Chair of the AFAC Climate Change Group, working with the whole Emergency Management Sector to adapt and respond to the challenges of climate change. She is passionate about using science and contemporary research, and risk-based approaches to shape policy and prepare communities to be resilient and safer from the impacts of fire.

CRC Board

Sandra Whight is a current member of the CRC's Board of Directors.

Lead end user

What if an earthquake hit central Adelaide? A major flood on the Yarra River through Melbourne? A bushfire on the slopes of Mount Wellington over Hobart?

‘What if?’ scenario modelling through this project is helping government, planning authorities and emergency service agencies think through the costs and consequences of various options on preparing for major disasters on their infrastructure and natural environments and how these might change into the future.

The research is based on the premise that to reduce both the risk and cost of natural disasters, an integrated approach is needed to consider multiple hazards and a range of mitigation options.

Building community resilience to natural disasters is a complex challenge that spans many policy areas. This project, which has transitioned to its utilisation phase, tackled this intricate problem by delivering policy options that could help governments and emergency services to strengthen resilience in communities. The research identified barriers to community resilience and potential policy solutions that could be factored into the preparation, response and post-event phases of emergency management.
Research team:
Emergencies are increasing in complexity, duration, and the number of agencies involved. This is likely to lead to an increasing number of errors being made, breakdowns in teams and degraded operational situations. These problems will play out within the context of a decreasing tolerance in the community and their political representatives. Rather than distributing the blame to individuals, we need to acknowledge that errors and breakdowns in emergency management teams will occur, and that it is important to seek and manage them in a mature and systematic way. The current project has three main research streams that are examining team monitoring, decision making and organisational learning.
Research team:

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