The State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (SERM Act 1989) sets out the general legal and governance framework for emergency management in NSW.
The SERM Act 1989 provides the basis for emergency management in NSW. It specifies:
The NSW legislation, defines an 'emergency' as:
'an emergency due to an actual or imminent occurrence (such as fire, flood, storm, earthquake, explosion, terrorist act, accident, epidemic or warlike action) which:
EMPLAN is the New South Wales State Emergency Management Plan. It sets out the State level approach to emergency management, the governance and coordination arrangements and roles and responsibilities of agencies.
It sets out key principles that underpin emergency management arrangements in NSW. These are aligned to nationally-recognised and agreed concepts and approaches that are fundamental to managing emergencies:
Emergency management is not just about responding to an emergency.
Emergency management is a range of measures to manage risks to communities and the environment. It includes the development and maintenance of arrangements to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.
It begins well before an emergency occurs, and continues through to well after the emergency has passed. The comprehensive approach is best remembered with the initials, PPRR:
To eliminate or reduce the level of the risk or severity of emergencies. It includes identifying hazards, assessing threats to life and property and taking measures to reduce potential loss to life or property.
To build the capacity of communities to cope with the consequences of emergencies. It includes arrangements or plans to deal with an emergency or the effects of an emergency.
To support individuals and communities affected by emergencies in reconstructing physical infrastructure and restoring physical, emotional, environmental and economic wellbeing. It includes the process of returning an affected community to its proper level of functioning after an emergency
A hazard is a potential or existing condition that may cause harm to people or damage to property or the environment.
As New South Wales is faced with a diversity of hazards, emergency management arrangements need to be sufficiently robust to provide a common 'management' structure, systems and methods of operation that will cater for all- hazards which have the potential to impact on a community.
The all-hazards approach is based on the principle that those systems and methods of operation which work for one hazard are most likely to work for other hazards. It does not, however, prevent the development of specific plans and arrangements for hazards that require specialised approaches.
The EMPLAN provides for an all-agency approach. For all elements of PPRR to be effective, the arrangements will incorporate all government agencies and other organisations that are involved in emergency management.
The community and all agencies need to actively partner, be prepared for and work collaboratively to provide a safer community.
This approach recognises that no one agency can address all of the impacts of a particular hazard, either in a proactive or reactive sense. It is necessary for a lead agency to coordinate the activities of the large number of organisations and agencies that are involved in emergency management.
Emergency Services Organisations - means the NSW Police Force, Fire & Rescue NSW, Rural Fire Service, Ambulance NSW, State Emergency Service, NSW Volunteer Rescue Association or other agencies which manages or controls an accredited rescue unit.
Functional Areas - business units within NSW Government agencies that perform specific emergency management functions. They provide a category of services involved in the preparations for an emergency. They include: Agriculture and Animal Services; Telecommunications Services; Energy and Utility Services; Engineering Services; Environmental Services; Health Services; Public Information Services; Transport Services; and Welfare Services.
Source: National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Companion Booklet.