The department's emergency management policies aim to build resilience and minimise the impact of emergencies on Victorians, especially people most at risk.
Emergency management policy
The Social services sector emergency management policy (Word) protects Victorians’ health, safety, and wellbeing by outlining how social services plan and prepare for emergencies.
The policy applies to services funded, delivered or regulated by the department, including:
- community services that are delivered directly by the department
- agencies delivering services that are funded by the department, as outlined in service agreements, funding plans and other relevant performance agreement documentation
- Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and short-term accommodation and assistance owned by the department
- agencies providing Supported Independent Living (SIL) and short-term accommodation and assistance services with which the department has a funding relationship
- any other agency or service provider, as stated in contractual agreements or regulatory/registration requirements.
Agencies not required to implement this policy are also encouraged to use it, and the accompanying resources, to guide their emergency management planning.
The policy has been updated for 2022, to bring it in line with the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS), which came into effect on 1 September 2022.
Key changes to the policy in 2022 policy include:
- Revised Fire Danger Ratings (reduced to four levels instead of six) - Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic – with Catastrophic replacing ‘Code Red’ as the highest fire danger, signifying the worst conditions for bushfires or grassfires. In addition, the Extreme rating is expanded and now covers the previous Severe and Extreme categories.
- Forecasting of Catastrophic fire danger days: Catastrophic fire danger days will not be declared by the Emergency Management Commissioner, but instead forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). All fire danger ratings will now be forecast up to four days in advance, included in standard weather forecasts and broadcast by major media outlets. Fire weather warnings and fire danger ratings will continue to be available through traditional channels such as the VicEmergency app and website, and via the Country Fire Authority.
- Trigger to relocate under the policy: A Catastrophic or Extreme fire danger day forecast by the BOM as at 9.00 am on the morning of the day before a Catastrophic or Extreme fire danger day will activate emergency relocation triggers and procedures as per the policy, and facility Bushfire Survival Plans and carer Leave Early Plans
Resources available to assist service providers plan and prepare for emergencies include:
- Emergency preparedness forums
- Preparing for emergencies: a reference guide for the social services sector (Word)
- Emergency management plan template (Word)
- Home-based care emergency management factsheet (Word)
- Emergency relocation – bushfire leave early plan (Word)
- Emergency management – What to do in a fire, flood or other emergency East Division A4 poster (pdf)
- Emergency management – What to do in a fire, flood or other emergency North Division A4 poster (pdf)
- Emergency management – What to do in a fire, flood or other emergency South Division - Gippsland A4 poster (pdf)
- Emergency management – What to do in a fire, flood or other emergency South Division - Southern Metro A4 poster (pdf)
- Emergency management – What to do in a fire, flood or other emergency West Division A4 poster (pdf).
Are you looking for the Department of Health’s Emergency Management policy? You can find it on the Department of Health website.
For more information, email the Emergency Management Policy and Programs team: EMPolicy@dffh.vic.gov.au
Family violence framework for emergency management
The Family violence framework for emergency management supports planning and response to family violence during and after emergencies.
For more information about the framework, see:
- Family violence in emergencies
- Emergency management sector - what you can do
- Family violence resources.
Vulnerable people in emergencies policy
The Vulnerable people in emergencies policy (Word) integrates emergency preparedness planning with the delivery of funded services.
The policy applies to organisations funded by the department to provide personal care, support and/or case management services to clients living in the community within the 64 municipal council areas wholly or partly covered by the Country Fire Authority districts.
The policy also outlines funded services and municipal councils’ roles in screening and maintaining information on a vulnerable persons register. The register is specifically for people who require support from authorities to evacuate in the event of an emergency.
The Vulnerable people in emergencies policy is supported by three guidelines:
- Guideline 1 – Emergency Planning and Screening
- Guideline 2 – Vulnerable Persons Register
- Guideline 3 – Vulnerable Persons Register: Getting Started
An evaluation of the Vulnerable Persons Registers, a key component of the vulnerable people in emergencies policy, was undertaken by the department in 2019. A summary of the findings is available in the Vulnerable Persons Registers evaluation - Summary of key findings and next steps January 2020 (word).
For tailored information, including how to use the register, see the Vulnerable Persons Register.
Promoting financial resilience to emergencies through home and contents insurance strategy
The Promoting financial resilience to emergencies through home and contents insurance strategy (PDF) supports the Victorian community to understand the importance of home and contents insurance as a key pillar of their financial resilience and emergency preparedness.
It also support Victorians to build the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions relating to their financial resilience and emergency preparedness.
Insure it. It’s worth it toolkit
We partnered with Good Shepherd Microfinance to develop the Insure it. It’s worth it toolkit to help financially prepare individuals and families if things go wrong.
This toolkit provides practical information and advice about the importance of home and contents insurance to reduce emergency-related financial risk and promote effective recovery.
The toolkit uses a simple approach to encourage you to check your financial readiness, understand the financial effects of a disaster and to start a conversation about financial wellbeing.
The Insure it. It's worth it toolkit is available to download on the Good Shepherd website.