2006 – Putting Better Practice into PPRR

J. Titterton

For many years most emergency management agencies in Australia have used a framework called Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR). This approach has worked very well in the past and has been incorporated into the more recent framework of Emergency Risk Management.

While Emergency Management Agencies use practice sessions in the form of Desktop/Tabletop Exercises and Field Exercises as part of Preparedness (the 2nd P in PPRR) these activities can suffer from a lack of engagement with the community.

State Water Corporation, a dam owner in NSW, has installed warning systems to trigger plans written by the SES to warn affected residents of possible dam failure. Although the systems are maintained and tested regularly in a technical sense, the next logical step is to encourage the affected communities to understand their role in the event of evacuation.

A joint exercise involving the NSW State Emergency Service (SES), State Water Corporation and the community, was conducted in a town in the Namoi valley in 2005 and has provided an opportunity to explore this concept. State Water Corporation is now confident that not only will the technical side of the warning system work but that residents should be more aware of their role and that of the SES and State Water Corporation.

Other benefits from the exercise are: the opportunity for improving general flood awareness in the community; the SES identifying community representatives; fine tuning procedures between and within the SES and State Water Corporation; allaying fears within the community about what is required of them in a dam failure; and demonstrating the dam owner’s duty of care to affected residents.

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