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:
This project developed simple practical tools that can help people better manage their teamwork, improve their decision making and develop more creative solutions. These include the Team Process Checklist, Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoire, Psychological Safety Checklist and Cognitive Bias Aide Memoire. In addition, the project considered how organisations utilise the outcomes of research and developed a tool to help agencies utilise research more effectively. In addition to creating tools that help better manage teams and make more effective decisions, members of the project team have also developed methods to help people to act more creatively during operations. These tools have now seen excellent utilisation by emergency management agencies in Australia and have attracted growing interest from international partners in the UK and Spain.
Research team:

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