Commonwealth Home Support Programme Service – Preparing for an Emergency Event

Page last updated: 13 October 2017

PDF Version: Commonwealth Home Support Programme Service – Preparing for an Emergency Event 

The following activities may help you to develop or review your Activity Continuity Plans for service delivery during emergency events:

Before the event

  • Consider the types of events that are most likely to affect your area (bushfire, flood etc.)
  • Ensure you are aware of state/territory or regional/local emergency management, arrangements, requirements and resources, including possible trigger points for evacuation, or ways to alert response agencies to the location of vulnerable clients.
  • Contact local emergency services to seek advice on local arrangements and to determine if emergency services require your service’s contact details. Ensure your key personnel have access to emergency service/s contact details, if required.
  • Consider the needs of vulnerable clients, including options for continuation of services to the extent possible in the event of an emergency and collaboration with other services being delivered to the same clients.
  • Develop a plan for recovery following an event including post event counselling for staff and volunteers.
  • Discuss Activity Continuity Plans with staff and volunteers.
  • Undertake exercises to test key parts of your plan to identify gaps and to provide staff and volunteers the opportunity to put into practice their specific responsibilities.
  • Provide appropriate plan information to your clients.
  • Educate clients and their families preparing for an emergency event including contacting and seeking assistance from emergency agencies.

During the event

  • Monitor emergency broadcasts and the media for local warnings and advice during periods of high risk.
  • Liaise with local emergency service agencies to determine the seriousness of any emergency situation and the level of risk posed to your clients and organisation.
  • Activate your Activity Continuity Plan in a timely manner giving full consideration to the risks involved.
  • Use a risk assessment approach to ensure services are delivered in a prioritised way to clients who have not evacuated, taking into account those who are most vulnerable.
  • Arrange for other providers to deliver services to vulnerable clients, where your services are impacted, for example, staffing.
  • Refer vulnerable clients to emergency service agencies if evacuation or other essential assistance is required.
  • Keep staff, volunteers and clients well informed during any emergency situation.
  • When safe provide advice to the Department of Health about the impact of the event on your service and clients, including alternative arrangements put in place.
  • Assess the impact of the event on your service and clients and take steps to recommence all services as soon as possible.
  • Liaise with and request assistance as required from local agencies providing recovery and other relevant services.
  • Review and amend your Continuity Activity Plans, as needed.
  • Consider how notdelivering a service during an emergency event will affect your clients, particularly those who:
  • Live alone or with an individual with similar or greater level of needs.
  • Receive nursing services (such as wound management).
  • Receive life-sustaining services including meals or technologies such as oxygen.

Consider the effect on clients who are:

  • Unlikely to be able to relocate without assistance.
  • Unable to make an independent decision due to cognitive or other impairment.
  • Socially or geographically isolated.
  • Live in a particularly high risk area (for instance bushfire, flood).
  • Difficult to make contact with in the event of an emergency (i.e. have limited or unreliable telephone service, or are hearing impaired).

The service plans developed with your clients should note any specific arrangements that may be put in place by your service for emergency events.

In the event of a major emergency, officers from the department may contact you to:

  • Determine the impact of the event on delivery of your service and if any additional assistance required is being arranged for your care recipients.
  • Ask if your service can support any additional care recipients from other providers who are unable to continue to deliver services.