MayDay is nearly here

MayDay_Heritage_17

Protecting our heritage is a fundamental responsibility for galleries, libraries, archivists and museums.

Historians, educators, curators, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, interpretation specialists, conservators, engineers, site/asset managers and qualified tradespeople working in heritage conservation all play an important role in assessing and maintaining sites and collections and preparing for natural and other disasters/impacts.

Over the next few days and weeks we will share some tips about how you can help protect our heritage today and everyday.

MayDay 2016

mdEvery May Blue Shield Australia encourages cultural organisations to think about ways that they can be better prepared for disaster. MayDay for cultural heritage fuses two concepts – the distress signal, and the month of May – in order to create a memorable calendar date for events that improve disaster preparedness in archives, galleries, libraries and museums.

Download the flyers and logos at the bottom of this post and use them to start the conversation in your organisation.

Other things that your organisation could do include:

  • Dust off your disaster plan and make sure it’s current, or make a timeline for developing one, using Be Prepared: Guidelines for writing a disaster preparedness plan: https://aiccm.org.au/disaster/disaster-planning
  • Identify and prioritise your important collection items and heritage sites
  • Identify the three biggest risks to your collection or heritage site
  • Get to know your local firefighters, police and SES – invite them to tour your organisation to give you pointers on safety and preparedness
  • Find a ‘partner’ heritage organisation to work with in case of an emergency. A model for collaboration is DISACT: http://www.anbg.gov.au/disact/
  • Arrange or participate in an emergency response training day on firefighting, crowd control, flood water management etc.
  • Attend a course on business continuity planning, a conference on resilience, or a workshop on emergency preparedness
  • Host a morning tea to raise funds for Blue Shield Australia
  • Consider the protection offered by your storage facilities – and plan to build safer repositories
  • Familiarise yourself with Blue Shield Australia’s webpages – particularly the Disaster management pages regarding emergency prevention & preparedness, plus response and recovery – and share the information with your colleagues

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Background flyer

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Generic flyer

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 How will you celebrate

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Logos

Launch of Australian institute for disaster resilience

A cutting edge approach for the delivery of emergency management education, training and professional development was officially launched in Brisbane on the 18th November.

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience will deliver contemporary products and services around the country that have been developed by, and for, the emergency management sector.

The Institute is a partnership that brings together the great depth of experience of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the Australian Red Cross, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and the Attorney-General’s Department.

 

Further information regarding the Institute and the products and services it will deliver will be available at www.ag.gov.au and www.afac.com.au.

International day for disaster risk reduction

The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 October marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – a day to acknowledge the efforts of communities to reduce their exposure to natural disasters.

This year’s theme ‘knowledge for life’ focuses on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge to complement science in disaster risk management.

With 19.3 million people displaced by disasters globally in 2014 it is vital that every citizen and government plays their part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The Australian Government recognises that Indigenous peoples provide an important contribution to disaster risk reduction through their experience and traditional knowledge.

That is why the Government provided $200,000 to pilot community based and community led emergency management training in Indigenous communities across central, northern and north-west Australia. This training will build local capacity and help communities further refine their local emergency management plans.

This is on top of a $150,000 commitment to review the Keeping Our Mob Safe strategy, which provides a framework for coordinated and cooperative approaches to emergency management in remote Indigenous communities. The review will ensure that the strategy remains up-to-date and continues to meets the needs of Indigenous communities.

Engaging local communities and indigenous peoples is also a key principle of the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which aims to reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.

Across northern Australia, indigenous landowners utilise traditional fire management practices in the early dry season to create cool, low intensity fires. These practices help prevent more serious wildfires later in the season.

Rangers are funded through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the Indigenous Protected Areas programme to implement traditional fire management regimes.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 following approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Further information on International Day for Disaster Reduction can be found here: http://www.unisdr.org/we/campaign/iddr

Further information on the Australian Government’s programs and policies aimed at strengthening disaster resilience can be found here: http://www.ag.gov.au/EmergencyManagement/Pages/default.aspx

Disaster assistance for storm affected communities in New South Wales

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant today announced that disaster assistance has been activated in response to the August storms which affected parts of the NSW coast and western Sydney.

Mr Keenan said the Australian and New South Wales governments are committed to working together to assist affected communities through the recovery process.

“Assistance is being provided to the local government areas of Penrith, Shoalhaven, Upper Hunter and Wollongong through the jointly‑funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

“The range of assistance measures activated under the NDRRA will ensure that storm-affected communities have access to the help they need to recover, and councils and state agencies have the financial support they need for clean-up operations and repairing damaged infrastructure” Mr Keenan said.

The assistance measures available include:

  • personal hardship and distress assistance for affected individuals and families;
  • assistance for council counter disaster operations and the restoration of essential public assets;
  • concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and voluntary not-for-profit bodies;
  • freight subsidies for primary producers; and
  • grants to voluntary not-for-profit bodies.

Mr Grant said the damage caused by the August storms affected communities across a large part of the state.

“This assistance will be of real benefit to individuals, families, small businesses and primary producers in these communities and ensure they can get back on their feet as soon as possible” Mr Grant said.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.

Information on disaster assistance available for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW Office of Emergency Management’s website at www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.

International course on first aid to cultural heritage in times of crisis

Many different types of professionals respond to an unfolding crisis.

This course provides strategies for interlocking culture specialists with humanitarian specialists during an emergency situation and aims to unify these sometimes conflicting perspectives. The course imparts practical skills and knowledge for taking simple measures to secure and stabilize endangered cultural heritage during a complex emergency situation, which in turn can become a driver for peace and holistic development. The recovery and stabilization of such cultural material can be a strategy that allows people to cope in a crisis.

After four international, and more than nine regional and national editions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the 2016 course is hosted in Washington D.C, USA, by the Smithsonian Institution. The content will be enriched through case examples on safeguarding cultural heritage in the aftermath of national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and most recently, Hurricane Sandy.

Dates: 23 May  –  24 June 2016

Place: Washington, DC USA

Organizers:

In cooperation with

Prince Claus Fund, Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER)

Full announcement here!

#culturecannotwait

Securing archives at risk conference, 1 October 2015

1 October 2015, Hotel National, Bern, Switzerland

The conference “securing archives at risk” is organized by swisspeace in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Archives and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in the scope of the “Archives and Dealing with the Past” project.

The event addresses the topic of the protection, security and access to archives at risk. When archives and records hold sensitive information with regard to accountability, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, they are often at risk not only for political reasons following armed conflict or situations of transition, but also due to lack of resources, bad archival conditions and natural hazards.

The objectives of the conference are to understand the risks associated with archives that contain information on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law; to understand the current national and international legal standards; and to identify what can be done in the respective countries and if needed, in cooperation with other actors to protect, secure and give access to such archives.

You are warmly invited to register online by 17 September 2015. The conference program is available for download.

South Australia to benefit from bushfire mitigation funding boost

28 August 2015

Commonwealth Minister for Justice Michael Keenan announced $1.36 million in funding over three years to enhance bushfire mitigation in South Australia, as part of the Commonwealth’s National Bushfire Mitigation Programme.

South Australian Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Conservation Ian Hunter welcomed the contribution and said the South Australian Government would provide funding of $1.45 million over three years.

Mr Keenan said it was vital the Commonwealth partner with South Australia to better prepare local communities for bushfires through enhanced mitigation.

“Bushfires are a fact of life in Australia and they can be devastating for the communities in their path,” Mr Keenan said.

“We’re funding projects that will help to minimise risks to communities from bushfires and reduce the costs of reconstruction and recovery.

“The Commonwealth’s partnership with South Australia reflects our shared focus on reducing the financial burden of natural disasters.”

Minister Hunter said funding was being provided to the South Australian Country Fire Service and Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) to enhance modelling of fire behaviour and bushfire spread, provide a dedicated fire weather forecasting service, plan for strategic fuel reduction activities in high-risk areas across private lands, and provide community education and resilience initiatives in bushfire prone areas.

“This funding will enable South Australia to consider the bushfire risk at a landscape scale, where planning is undertaken across a broad geographical area rather than for a particular landholder, or group of landholders,” Mr Hunter said.

“In addition, the funding will support further development of DEWNR’s fire behaviour and bushfire spread modelling, which allows experts to understand where bushfires are most likely to occur, and their impact.

“This modelling informs our fuel reduction programme and other strategies, and allows us to educate the community in high risk areas of bushfire risk while also supporting the SACFS during bushfire emergencies.”

The $15 million National Bushfire Mitigation Programme delivers on a Coalition Government election commitment to cement Commonwealth partnership with all States and Territories to build on their existing bushfire management practices and implement strategies to address bushfire risks.