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Recommendation 11: Review and enhance evacuation plans and processes

Find out what the government is doing in response to this recommendation from the IGEM Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian bushfire season: Phase 1 report.

The actions on this page are identified in the Victorian Government responseExternal Link to Recommendation 11 from the IGEM Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season – Phase 1 reportExternal Link .

IGEM Recommendation 11: Evacuation plans and processes

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) recommends that Victoria Police – in collaboration with the community and the emergency management sector – reflect on events of the 2019-20 fire season to review and enhance evacuation plans and processes with consideration of:

  • high risk areas (including remote locations)
  • early evacuation triggers
  • the potential for isolated communities
  • the presence of tourists and non-residents
  • individual decisions to not evacuate
  • the inability to evacuate
  • consequence management and compounding events such as the loss of essential services or health impacts.


Action 11.1: Ensure evacuation powers are adequate through a review of State of Disaster legislation

The Victorian Government is reviewing State of Disaster legislation to ensure that existing powers in relation to evacuation are adequate for different emergency scenarios.

Action 11.2: Refine evacuation plans for flood risk communities to reflect a wet spring and COVID-19 requirements

Evacuation plans for flood risk communities are being refined to reflect a possible wet spring and COVID-19 requirements.

Action 11.3: Review Victoria’s Code Red arrangements to clarify evacuation requirements

The Victorian Government has committed to reviewing Victoria’s Code Red arrangements to ensure there is absolute clarity in relation to evacuation requirements and expectations. This work is expected to be finalised by November 2020.

Action 11.4: Ensure consistent evacuation processes and communication for closure of access roads, parks and reserves

Prior to the 2021-22 financial year, the Victorian Government will make sure consistent processes and communications are developed in relation to evacuations and the closure of access roads, parks and reserves.

Action 11.5: Update evacuation policy and procedure, incorporating lessons learned from 2019-20 bushfires

Victoria Police, in collaboration with relevant agencies, will update the Joint Standard Operating Procedures (JSOPs) for evacuations and other relevant doctrine to incorporate learnings from evacuations during the 2019-20 summer.

This work will be completed in two phases (with priority actions completed before the upcoming season, followed by consideration of longer-term actions).

Action 11.6: Update and enhance risk intelligence modelling for evacuation decision-making

Victoria Police, in conjunction with responder agencies, will update and enhance risk intelligence and predictive service offerings to support evacuation decision-making as it applies to evacuation planning. They will support the development of modelling to enhance the future development of risk-based evacuation and localised emergency management plans.

Action 11.7: Apply lessons learned from exercises to future evacuation planning

Victoria Police in conjunction with sector partners, commit to applying learnings from Exercise Praesidio - a simulated bushfire evacuation in 2019 involving the Powelltown, Three Bridges and Gilderoy communities – to improve future evacuation plans, processes and capability.

Action 11.8: Work with communities to review, enhance and further develop evacuation plans

Victoria Police will work with regions, partner agencies and the community to review, enhance and further develop evacuation plans for high-risk communities including those in remote locations. A key focus will be visitors and tourists planning to travel within these locations.

Action 11.9: Strengthen evacuation plans and processes to account for future risks and working with community

To further strengthen evacuation plans and processes, Victoria Police commits to work with:

  • the Bureau of Meteorology
  • land managers
  • fire agencies
  • the community

to better understand and identify risks on a year-to-year basis, taking into account factors such as climate change, seasonal conditions, and previous bushfire history.

Action 11.10: Develop and deliver training exercises for emergency managers on evacuation planning

Victoria Police, in conjunction with sector partners, will develop and deliver training and exercising to key incident management and decision-making personnel on improved evacuation doctrine and processes.

Action 11.11: Create specially trained personnel for evacuation and traffic management roles in emergencies

Victoria Police will look at creating specially trained personnel equipped to undertake evacuation and traffic management roles required in an emergency, to ensure evacuation and early departure from at-risk areas occurs seamlessly.

Action 11.12: Improve evacuation decision-making processes by adopting spatial planning tools

The Victorian Government commits to improving evacuation decision-making processes – for example, through expanded use of more sophisticated tools such as spatially based evacuation planning currently being trialled along the Great Ocean Road.

An update on these actions can be found in IGEM's progress reportExternal Link

Reviewed 05 August 2022

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