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Report name
Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season - Phase 1
Lead agency
EMV - Emergency Management Victoria
Due date
September 2020
IGEM considers that this action has been implemented
Recommendation theme
Recommendation 1: Preparedness and training
Recommendation details

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that responder agencies and Emergency Management Victoria review preparedness arrangements to ensure procedural documentation (including plans), recruitment, briefings and training are completed before significant seasonal events are likely to occur.

Seasonal preparedness should culminate in attestations of assurance to confirm that:
a)    documentation reflects relevant risks and potential impacts
b)    briefings and training schedules have been tailored and delivered according to seasonal influences
c)    recruitment strategies enable the engagement of adequate numbers of appropriately skilled personnel for the entire season.


EMV is working with the sector to adapt its preparedness planning arrangements, including training and accreditation, to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

Summary of progress

EMV provided IGEM with a range of evidence documenting the adaptation of preparedness planning arrangements to comply with Chief Health Officer directions and COVID-19 safe practices.

Preparedness planning

  • A Response Agency Taskforce (COVID) was established to monitor workforce and operational impacts of the pandemic.
  • The rolling State Operations Plan prepared by the State Control Team (SCT) Class 1 routinely considers COVID-19 related implications for preparedness and provides guidance to response agencies to ensure COVID-19 safety and compliance of personnel. 
  • General COVID-19 guidance is available in the COVID Readiness Portal section of the Emergency Management Common Operating Picture (EM-COP). Specific ICC and RCC Facility COVID-19 operational plans are available via EM-COP. An ICC/RCC Initial COVID Readiness Checklist has been developed to ensure COVID-safe operations. 
  • COVID-19 pandemic related advisory bulletins have been issued to support existing JSOP 2.03 Incident Management Team (IMT) Readiness Arrangements, providing guidance for making reasonable adjustments in COVID-19 settings and ensuring agency consistency. Advisory bulletins for relief have also been issued.

COVID-19 pandemic related roles

COVID-19 pandemic related roles have been established: 

  • COVID Advisor: to promote the application of COVID-19 protocols during an emergency.
  • ERC COVID Safety Advisor (CSA): to work in collaboration with the Emergency Relief Centre (ERC) Manager to promote the application of COVID-19 protocols in the establishment and operation of an ERC during Class 1 emergencies.

EMV advised that training was developed in consultation with the Department of Health and delivered to all staff and volunteers undertaking these roles.

Training and accreditation

  • EMV adapted training and accreditation processes in line with COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the 2020–21 summer season. Pre-season briefing sessions were delivered online and accreditation panels moved to online formats (refer to Action 15.4 on page 120 of IGEM's 2021 progress report for further details). A range of training materials are accessible via the sector's online EM Learning platform.

EMV plans to continue to adapt preparedness planning arrangements as required in accordance with Chief Health Officer directions