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Community Service Organisations

This is a photo of a female community service officer greeting a client at his front door.

This information will help you prepare for and reduce the impact of emergencies on your clients, your employees and your organisation.

Prepare your organisation

Your clients rely on you. What plans does your organisation have in place to ensure they still get the care they need during an emergency?

Have you talked about and planned for what happens if...

  • Your organisation is physically directly impacted by an emergency?
  • Your employees are affected by the emergency and can't get to work?
  • You can't reach clients due to power failure, road blocks, phone and internet outages?

In just six steps, you can develop a strategy to re-establish your service after an emergency and adapt to new and emerging needs, thanks to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) resource, Six Steps to Resilience.

Prepare your clients

Your clients trust you. Talk to them regularly about getting ready for emergencies as part of routine visits.

Know their risk: For example, do they live in a bush fire, flood or heatwave area? This will help you prepare them for an emergency.

Identify their needs: Can they access and understand emergency information and warnings? Can they evacuate themselves if needed? Are they connected with family, friends or neighbours? 

Help them prepare: Being prepared for emergencies works best when it is part of everyday life. Don't leave it to the last minute. 

Download the Help your clients prepare for emergencies.pdf fact sheet.

How emergencies are managed

Detailed emergency management plans (EMPLANs) are in place at the state, regional and local level. These set out the roles for government and emergency service agencies.

For more information on these plans, download the How emergencies are managed in NSW.pdf fact sheet.

Your role in recovery

Following an emergency, contact your local council for information about how community recovery is coordinated. Your organisation will have an important role to:

  • Connect with clients
  • Understand their needs
  • Provide information and support
  • Link them with services
  • Share knowledge with other organisations
  • Help inform recovery activities and services

For more information, download the Community recovery after an emergency.pdf and Emotional and social recovery.pdf fact sheets.

Key resources

Selected resources to help you help your clients prepare for emergencies.


Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness – a process tool and framework for enabling disaster preparedness with people with chronic health conditions and disability – The University of Sydney

Local Emergency Management Guidelines for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in NSW – guidelines for disability support providers to understand Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction principles and provide practical activities to engage the community in building resilience – The University of Sydney

ACT! A Collaborative Toolkit for Home Support Providers to Prepare Older People for Emergencies - this toolkit supports home support providers to empower older people to make decisions about preparing for emergencies. It also builds the capacity of home support providers to train their staff and volunteers on how to discuss emergency preparedness with their clients and make referrals to emergency services for assistance.

For more information email emergencyprep@nswmealsonwheels.org.au

Australian Red Cross – www.redcross.org.au

  • Create an Emergency Plan – information and template to develop an all-hazards emergency plan
  • Get Prepared app – helps people connect with their key support people and to do simple tasks to make them safer
  • Collective Trauma Events: Best Practice Guidelines – information about supporting communities before, during and after collective trauma events
  • Disaster Ready  – a guide for planning and facilitating workshops for the community service sector to help organisations and clients prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. 


Australian Disaster Resilience Community Recovery Handbook – a comprehensive guide to community recovery in Australia – The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

National Principles for Disaster Recovery  – Social Recovery Reference Group

Walk With – online training tool – Gateway Family Services

Australian Red Cross – www.redcross.org.au

NSW Emergency Service Organisations

For emergency warnings and information about preparing for specific hazards contact emergency services.