Roles and responsibilities in emergencies

A photo taken from above of various coloured helmets

We understand that during an emergency, it's crucial to know who you can rely on for help and stay updated with the latest information.

While Council is not an emergency response agency, our role is to support those agencies dedicated to assisting our community during these challenging times.

Additionally, we play a vital role in coordinating relief and recovery support for our community once disasters or emergencies have occurred. Scroll on to find information about the importance of shared responsibility and the role you and your community plays when an emergency occurs.

What is ‘Shared Responsibility’?

Shared responsibility means that individuals and community members have responsibilities in an emergency, not just the official agencies. These responsibilities are set out clearly in the State Emergency Management Plan. Understanding this plan, and how it informs the response at a local level, means that we can all be better prepared for emergencies.

The State Emergency Management Plan states that:

“Victoria’s shared responsibility approach recognises that communities:

  • are best placed to understand and manage their own risks and drive preparedness, response and recovery, including through their fundamentally important volunteer contribution
  • should be empowered with the information, capabilities and opportunities to make decisions and work with agencies for better emergency management outcomes.
  • have networks and relationships that help agencies and communities identify the risks that a community faces, assess the vulnerability of the community to those risks and identify options to protect the values of most importance to them.

Shared responsibility does not mean equal responsibility.

  • In many cases, the emergency management sector and governments more broadly have the resources and information to make decisions and act on behalf of the Victorian community.
  • Equally, in major emergencies with far-reaching consequences, the state may not be able to coordinate the support the community expects. "

The Role of Individuals and Community Members

Your responsibilities during an emergency include:

  • Having food, water, bedding, shelter and medication for yourself and those you care for, for 72 hours. Four litres of water per person/day is recommended (plus additional for babies and pets)
  • Having a plan for vulnerable people in the community to be safe. This may include your neighbours, others in the community and those you care for who do not live near you (i.e. a grandparent who lives in another town)
  • Ensuring animals, including livestock have a safe place to relocate in case of emergency. A relief centre should not be relied upon.
  • Ensuring that houses are adequately prepared for emergencies including fire, flood and storms.
  • Being aware of emergency risks in your area and accessing information in an emergency situation, including when travelling to new areas.

The Role of Council

The Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP)

All councils have legislated responsibilities to prepare a Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP). The emergency management plan covers the management, prevention, response, recovery and support arrangement for emergencies.

We offer specialised local knowledge about our locality, and our residents look to us for assistance during times of emergency and during the recovery process.

The MEMP is created by the Municipal Management Planning Committee (MEMPC). This is a  multi-agency collaboration group  with members who bring organisation, industry or personal expertise to the task of developing a comprehensive emergency management plan for the municipality.  The MEMPC is chaired by Indigo Shire Council and comprises representatives from:

  • Indigo Shire Council, including the Municipal Recovery Manager
  • Country Fire Authority
  • Emergency Recovery Victoria
  • State Emergency Service
  • Victoria Police
  • Department Families Fairness and Housing
  • Red Cross
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Forest Fire Management Victoria
  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Department of Health
  • Two community representatives

Download a copy of the MEMP(PDF, 3MB)

A number of staff are employed within Council in management roles. Our key emergency management positions include:

  • a Municipal Emergency Management Officer
  • a Municipal Recovery Manager and
  • a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer

In emergencies Indigo Shire Council are responsible for:

  • Opening Emergency Relief Centres when told to do so by the Agency in charge of the Incident
  • Provide information and education about emergency preparedness, response and recovery
  • Ensure public drains and roads are clear
  • Ensure buildings meet standards to reduce impacts of emergencies and natural disasters
  • Ensure water & cool spaces are available for individual use during heat waves
  • Issue Fire Prevention Notices
  • Coordinate information about relief payments
  • Coordinate response and recovery activities within affected communities
  • Coordinate the housing of lost and stray animals after an emergency incident
  • Communicate about relief and recovery activities