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Community engagement


Community awareness and education

Australian Government: Attorney-General's Department - Emergency Management in Australia

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Community awareness and education

The Attorney-General's department through the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) sponsors a range of national programs and activities that support communities in building disaster resilience, including:

  • community awareness publications
  • school education sector engagement
  • building community engagement capability and capacity
  • emergency management volunteer sector support
  • national awards program, and
  • innovative information sharing technologies.

Community awareness publications

The department provides a wide range of free community awareness and education publications for the community and agencies. They cover advice on preparation for and coping with potential hazards such as severe storms, flood, bushfire, cyclone, earthquake, tsunami and heatwave.

School education

Publications and resource kits are available to teachers to support emergency management related studies at school. The Disaster Resilience Education for Schools website is a comprehensive resource for Australian students and teachers, from late primary school to secondary school. It includes a range of teaching and learning activities underpinned by current teaching pedagogy, including interactive resources Dingo Creek, Disaster Mapper and Before the Storm.

A Disaster Resilient Australia School Education Network (DRASEN) provides strategic advice on disaster resilience and emergency management policy and directions for alignment to the new Australian Curriculum and school education programs delivered by relevant bodies, nationally.

Building community engagement capability and capacity

An engaged community involved in the decision-making processes associated with emergency management activities is more likely to be proactive, self-reliant and adaptive when emergencies do arise.

Recognising the importance of engaging with communities as vital partners in building disaster resilience, the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework has been developed as a key component of the Strategy's implementation. Its development was guided by the ANZEMC Community Engagement Sub-Committee, for which AEMI is the Secretariat.

A fundamental principle of the Framework recognises the inherent complexity in engaging with the community and the importance of understanding the needs of the community, taking into account, gender, age, culture, ability and challenges such as geographic isolation and entrenched disadvantage.

Emergency management volunteers

Australia's pool of emergency management response and recovery volunteers numbering some 500,000 plays a vital role in assisting communities to manage the full range of emergencies and disasters.

The Natural Disaster Resilience Program recognises the need to contribute funding for improving national capacity and to train this pool of volunteers to be ready to respond to the whole range of possible emergencies. The funding provides practical support and recognition for our volunteers building and improving our national preparedness to manage emergencies.

To find out more, visit the Natural Disaster Resilience Program page and the Volunteers page.

Resilient Australia Awards

This national awards program aims to recognise and promote initiatives that support and strengthen community disaster resilience. The awards have a solid history in the emergency management sector in Australia and offer an excellent snapshot of the progression towards disaster resilience. They often make visible the largely unseen work of many people—including local solutions to local challenges.

The Awards encourage excellence and innovation across all sectors of society.

Visit the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub for further information.

Innovative information sharing technologies

The Australian Emergency Knowledge Hub is a virtual and actual knowledge environment that provides ready access to evidence-based research, leading to improved policy development, decision making and best practice in the emergency management sector.

For more information visit the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub 

DisasterWatch Phone App

The DisasterWatch phone app provides publicly available news and information about disaster events in Australia via direct feeds from a range of authoritative sources in the States and Territories and nationally.

Please note: this app does not provide direct emergency alert warnings to users.

DisasterWatch is available from the Google Play and from Apple-iTunes (search for DisasterWatch).