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With over a hundred bushfires burning on the east coast of Australia, storms taking down powerlines and hazardous levels of smoke blanketing Sydney, the work of emergency services is plain for all to see.
Those communities directly affected by the current emergency and other disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, explosions, car accidents, regrettably even terrorism, know first-hand how critical it is for these personnel to have the right skills and knowledge to operate in extraordinary circumstances.
Increasingly, emergency service personnel are working together with communities to implement safety principles and practices. This work is based on the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR), which advocates for the community to be active participants in their own resilience. Emergency services personnel and the community now share responsibility for emergency management and community safety preparedness and recovery activities.
In response to this changing emergency management environment, the Public Safety Industry Reference Committee has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee to review and update qualifications and competency standards relating to community safety and emergency management.
Education and Delivery Manager for Total Disaster Management Solutions, and Chair of the IRC, Carola Washbourne, said, ‘Emergency management involves personnel, volunteers and community members from many organisations and walks of life. With disaster and emergency events becoming more severe and more frequent, now more than ever we need people in the public safety environment who are trained in best practice skill sets.’
The IRC will undertake broad consultations with public safety stakeholders, relevant industry representatives and State Training Authorities to get feedback and input into the development of new training standards.
The IRC has established two Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) to provide public safety expertise and knowledge for the projects to ensure the following qualifications and associated Skill Sets and Units of Competency meet industry needs:
Carola, who is also Chair of the Emergency Management TAC, said ‘the TACs’ work will be crucial in shaping Training Packages that bring about best practice and build confidence in skill sets for those in the public safety industry’.
The TACs, with the support of AIS, are holding the first of their meetings this week.
Read more about these projects here.