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Last year we saw the devastating bushfires, this year Qld and NSW have been (and still are) experiencing life changing flood events. Straya – the land of extreme weather!

An emergency situation can happen at any time and take many forms. In many cases, it can be life threatening and or damaging to equipment, buildings and infrastructure. Emergencies can be financially devastating as well. It’s vitally important that you have the planning and resources available to deal with emergencies, as well as confident and competent staff that can deal with emergencies when they arise.

What can we do to plan for and minimise as much harm and damage as possible?

  1. Plan
    1. A risk assessment is a great starting point in the planning process. Look at the history of the area, think about the climate and weather patterns. Get staff involved in this process, particularly if they have lived in the area for a long time. Document your findings and create an action plan on the resources, training and preparations you need to do.
    1. From the risk assessment, review your Emergency Management Plan and add information on any other potential emergencies that were identified.
    1. Communicate the updated Emergency Management Plan to your staff.
  2. Prepare
    1. Review the emergency response equipment that is available in your venue. Is it adequate for potential emergency situations? Has it been checked, serviced and maintained regularly? If not, now is the time to get the equipment ready.
    1. Do you need to invest in new emergency response / warning equipment? Don’t wait until the emergency is on top of you to try and scramble to get resources.
    1. Review your insurance policies annually to ensure they are providing adequate protection against the identified emergencies.
  3. Practice
    1. Emergency evacuation drills and fire safety training are required annually, but what about training and practicing for other potential emergencies? Hold regular training sessions on emergency response. You need your staff to respond quickly, efficiently and safely in any emergency situation, and they can only do that with the right information and prior practice.
    1. If you are in a cyclone prone area, provide training for staff on what to do if there is a cyclone predicted to affect your area. Same if you are in a bushfire or flooding region.
    1. If you have duress alarms fitted in the venue, do your staff know how to use them? Are the duress alarms tested regularly?
    1. Document any training that is undertaken.

For any emergency planning advice and training, get in touch with Michelle Pitman, DWS Work Health Safety & Compliance Advisor, on 0401 014 619 or michelle@dws.net.au

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