An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. It exists due to an actual or imminent occurrence (such as a fire, storm, earthquake, explosion, accident, epidemic or warlike action) which:
- Endangers, or threatens to endanger, the safety or health of persons or animals, or
- Destroys or damages, or threatens to destroy or damage, any property (including the environment).
Local Emergency Management Committee
Each of the four (4) local government areas (Cessnock, Dungog, Maitland and Port Stephens) has a Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC). The goals of the LEMC are to:
- Prevent or reduce the impact of emergencies,
- Ensure the preparedness of each community,
- Provide an effective and co-ordinated response to an emergency, and
- Provide for the recovery of the community.
The LEMC consists of a Chairperson (senior representative from Council, usually the Local Emergency Management Officer (LEMO)); the Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCon) which is the NSW Police Local Area Commander; and senior representatives from combat and functional area supporting agencies.
Combat agencies represented include:
- NSW Police Service & LEOCon,
- NSW Ambulance,
- Fire & Rescue NSW,
- State Emergency Service (SES),
- Rural Fire Service (RFS),
- District Emergency Management Officer (DEMO) where required, and
- Assistance from the Local government (Council) and the LEMO.
Functional Area support agencies represented include:
- Agriculture and Animal Services,
- Communication Services,
- Engineering Services,
- Environmental Services,
- Health Services,
- Public Information Services,
- Transport Services, and
- Energy and Utility Services.
In the event of an emergency, the Local Emergency Management Committee will, as required, provide assistance with a multi-agency response to the respective combat agency.
Lower Hunter Emergency Management Co-ordinating Committee (LHEMCC)
The LHEMCC comprises representatives from Cessnock, Dungog, Maitland and Port Stephens Councils, representatives from the combat agencies (Police, Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, etc) and the District Emergency Management Officer for the Lower Hunter. The role of the LHEMCC is to co-ordinate emergency management across the four Council areas.
During 2007 the LHEMCC prepared an Emergency Risk Management Report identifying the following hazards as posing an extreme risk to people:
- Bush fire,
- Grass fire,
- Extreme Heat,
- Industrial Accident,
- Mine Accident,
- Transport Accident Road, and
- Communicable Disease - Affecting Humans.
The EMPLAN is the key document for identifying roles, responsibilities, control and co-ordination of emergency operations at a local level. This document links with District and State Level EMPLANS should the scale of the disaster / emergency require resources not available within the local community.