The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, produced by the Council of Australian Governments (2011) identifies disaster resilient communities and organisations as having a set of common characteristics, these are:
- functioning well while under stress;
- successful adaptation;
- self-reliance; and
- social capacity.
Communities that develop a high level of resilience are better able to withstand a crisis event and have an enhanced ability to recover from residual impacts. Communities that possess resilience characteristics can also arrive on the other side of a crisis in a stronger position than pre-event. (Insurance Council of Australia 2008, Improving Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events).
The first step on the path to building a disaster resilient community is for the individual to have an understanding of the hazards and risks that affect them and have access to local information about who is exposed and who is most vulnerable.
Armed with this information, the community can take action to prepare for disasters and be adaptive and flexible to respond appropriately during emergencies. Comprehensive information about the potential risks empowers individuals to take steps to anticipate disasters and to protect themselves, their assets and their livelihoods, therefore minimising physical, economic and social losses.
Community members can work together, using their knowledge and resources to prepare for and deal with disasters. Building on community strengths and using existing networks; the community will be in a better position to offer support to individuals and families in a time of crisis. Local businesses need to be undertaking business continuity planning that outlines their disaster management arrangements to ensure that services can be restored to the community as quickly as possible.
These actions will create self-reliance and build social capacity within the community so that it can function effectively under stress in responding to and recovering from a disaster event. The key to achieving a resilient community is for government, community and business to share in the responsibility for preparing for, responding to and recovering from a disaster.
The Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report 2012 states: “The Commission uses the expression ‘shared responsibility’ to mean increased responsibility for all. It recommends that state agencies and councils adopt increased or improved protective, emergency management and advisory roles. In turn, communities, individuals and households need to take greater responsibility for their own safety and to act on advice and cues given to them before and on the day of the disaster event.”
The purpose of this plan is to detail arrangements that minimise the impact of a disaster or major crisis affecting communities of the region within the boundaries of Redland City. The primary focus of this plan is to ensure the safety and welfare of the mainland and bay island communities as well as other people who may visit the area.
Whilst the most likely hazards affecting the region are bushfires, severe storm and storm surge, an ‘all hazards’ approach has been taken in preparation of this plan.
The objective of this plan is to provide practical information that can be applied by the community in preparing for, responding to and recovering from a disaster. This plan is specifically tailored to provide the communities of Redland City with:
- practical information about what to do before, during and after a disaster event;
- an insight into the demographic profile and infrastructure network of the coastal suburbs;
- an understanding of the hazards and risks that impact the coastal suburbs;
- information for each suburb that will inform disaster response and evacuation processes; and
- a list of key emergency contacts.