Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience
School of Science / ECU Security Research Institute
Australia's bushfire seasons are expected to become longer and more severe due to the effects of climate change and an increasing population living in rural-urban fringes. Social and economic vulnerability to extreme natural hazards means that Australia’s emergency services sector plays a significant role in community safety and wellbeing. Therefore, it is important that the sector continually improves. Australia has a long history of conducting external reviews into significant bushfires. While these reviews receive good support and seek to identify relevant lessons, barriers remain that prevent these lessons from being effectively learnt. It is possible that some of these barriers exist because the stratum of work impedes the capture, codifying and adjustments to systems. This research investigated the premise that lessons learnt in the Australian emergency services sector occurs on a stratum, with different types of lessons learnt at different levels of work. Four significant independent bushfire reviews were analysed to evaluate whether specific lessons could be aligned to the stratum of work. Findings were that not all lessons apply to all levels of organisations. This supports the premise that lessons are learnt on a vertical organisational stratum; for example, some lessons were operational, others were tactical and some were strategic. It was determined that a lack of understanding of the barriers within an organisations stratum could impede the effectiveness of lessons being learnt.
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Natural and Built Environments
Environmental management, governance and policy