2018 EMPA Australia Awards

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The Annual EMPA Awards for Excellence in Emergency Communication have been established to recognise those who have made a significant contribution to emergency communications in Australia and New Zealand.

2018 saw the Australian Inaugural EMPA Awards for Excellence in Emergency Communications presented at the EMPA Conference Dinner in Melbourne on Monday, 4 June 2018.

Here are the winners, as well as highly commended entries, in each category:

 

Excellence in Resilience and Readiness

Winner - Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Yarra & Bay – a free, timely and simple service forecasting water quality at 40 locations, providing health alerts direct to the public and accessible via multiple platforms.  

Nial Finegan, Terry Sefton and Darren Cottam, EPANial Finegan, Terry Sefton and Darren Cottam, EPA

Highly Commended – Victorian SES

15 to Float - A compelling campaign that focuses on community preparedness and enhancing knowledge that just 15cm of water is all it takes for a car to start to float. 

Tim Wiebusch, Kelvin Jewell, Kate White, and Stephen Griffin, VicSES, with Ari Margossian from Campaign EdgeTim Wiebusch, Kelvin Jewell, Kate White, and Stephen Griffin, VicSES, with Ari Margossian from Campaign Edge

Excellence in Response and Recovery

Winner – New South Wales SES

Media App – an app accessible by all NSW SES volunteers enabling users to more quickly and easily disseminate information to the media and is especially useful during emergency responses. The app also allows users to be tracked in real time by SES State Headquarters, allowing them to be deployed more effectively to where they are needed.

Heidi Groom and Phil Campbell, NSW SES with Andy and Eloise Grace of Andy Grace MediaHeidi Groom and Phil Campbell, NSW SES with Andy and Eloise Grace of Andy Grace Media

Highly Commended – NSW Office of Emergency Management

Dedicated Disaster Recovery Facebook Page - For the recent bush fire disaster in Tathra, NSW OEM launched a dedicated disaster recovery page on Facebook alongside a community-focused engagement strategy. The dedicated focus on one recovering community is novel and has proven valuable to the impacted residents of Tathra.

Jeremy Hillman, Department of JusticeJeremy Hillman, Department of Justice

Excellence in Emergency Media

Winner – ABC Darwin

Emergency broadcasting cyclone Marcus – ABC Darwin’s coverage of Tropical Cyclone Marcus in March 2018 on radio, television and social media, began the week prior with preparedness information. They continued throughout the cyclone where radio was a lifeline to more than 30-thousand homes without power at the height of the storm.  Presenters were calm, empathetic, and provided reassurance during the cyclone and also broadcast in Kriol, the predominant Indigenous language group in the region. After the storm had passed, ABC Radio Darwin’s focus became recovery information. While continuing to provide re-assurance to the audience, the station focussed in providing practical information such as boiled water alerts, regular updates on when power would be restored and details of school closures and road reports.

Theresa Rockley-Hogan and Sascha Rundle, ABCTheresa Rockley-Hogan and Sascha Rundle, ABC

Excellence in Research

Winner – Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC

Managing animals in disasters – Australian’s love their pets – and this influences how people behave during an emergency, with emergency services incorporating findings from research to influence their plans and policies during disasters. Led by Dr Melanie Taylor from Macquarie University, the Managing animals in disasters research project has identified best practice approaches to animal emergency management.

Melanie Taylor, Macquarie UniversityMelanie Taylor, Macquarie University

Highly Commended – Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC

Communication and warnings for natural disasters – Research is shaping public warnings and information campaigns that prepare and protect communities from flood, fire, heatwave and other natural hazards in Australia. The insights from CRC researchers at the Queensland University of Technology and at Macquarie University have combined to equip emergency service agencies around Australia with better-targeted long-term public safety campaigns, as well as urgent warning messages delivered to at-risk populations in the face of imminent natural hazards.

David Bruce, BNH CRC, on behalf of Katharine Haynes, Macquarie UniversityDavid Bruce, BNH CRC, on behalf of Katharine Haynes, Macquarie University

Judges Award

Awarded to entires that may not fit a particular category but hold the judges' attention and regard.

WinnerShire of Harvey

Stories from the Fireground – A beautiful, sometime poignant, collection of stories and photos from community members who were impacted by the Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey January 2016 Bushfires. The book was published and officially launched in July 2017 and more than 1000 copies have been sold or distributed so far. 

“To have such a record is important and to tell our story was essential.  We hope that others can learn from our experience.”

Anne Leadbetter, EMPA Conference Chair, Tania Jackson, Shire of Harvey CEO and Peter Rekers, EMPA ChairmanAnne Leadbetter, EMPA Conference Chair, Tania Jackson, Shire of Harvey CEO and Peter Rekers, EMPA Chairman