The Victorian emergency management sector is supporting communities to better connect and build a safer and more resilient future. This includes the development of a Community Based Emergency Management (CBEM) approach (VIEW the CBEM-Overview document) and key examples, to recognise current efforts and support people to work together before, during and after emergencies.
Empowering local community volunteers and staff to participate in these processes is an integral part of the ‘all communities, all emergencies’ approach being adopted in Victoria. This approach places people at the centre of decision making processes to support different types of communities. This includes communities that are based on geography and others that connect by different social systems such as common interests, neighbourhoods, function, ethnic background or faith.
This approach supports communities to consider their strengths and all types of emergencies that may be sudden, imminent or unexpected events, with the potential to cause loss of life, injury, damage and interfere with normal activities. These may be caused by natural or extreme weather events, infrastructure failure, changes in our human or animal health levels, or by threats to our security.
With a focus on building upon combined strengths, the CBEM approach supports people to better connect and use local knowledge, expertise and resources to make safer and more informed decisions. This approach recognises that communities can lead these processes before, during and after emergencies, with the support of emergency services, government, business, industry and non-government organisations to:
- Connect people and networks
- Use local knowledge
- Understand long term stresses and potential impacts from shocks
- Develop goals and solutions, and
- Continue to learn, share and improve.
Adapting and using this approach is a ‘navigation’ exercise rather than a step-by-step process. This means that communities and organisations can support each other to understand different perspectives and strengthen relationships through the collaborative development of goals and solutions. It is expected that these relationships and decision making processes will support a range of activities to be delivered by organisations, communities and organisations together and by communities themselves.
The CBEM-Overview document provides further information to guide communities and organisations toward:
- Being better connected before, during & after emergencies
- ‘Mapping’ the local community context and perspectives
- Identifying priority issues & opportunities, including stresses & potential shocks
- Developing scenarios to support the development of actions & solutions
- Better preparing, responding & recovering from emergencies, and
- Strengthening relationships to better adapt and develop a preferred future.
Working together to further develop and adapt this approach is part of a process to strengthen relationships that can be drawn upon during times of need. It is anticipated that these connections and processes may also provide opportunities for ongoing learning and participation.
Introducing and improving the CBEM approach, community based examples and supporting information will continue to build upon the research, experience and advice provided by communities and organisations from within and outside the emergency management sector.