Building capability in Emergency Services: Diversity and inclusion in Communities

Pyke, Joanne ORCID: 0000-0002-0137-937X (2018) Building capability in Emergency Services: Diversity and inclusion in Communities. Project Report. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne, Victoria.


The purpose of this report is to consolidate and integrate the findings of case studies conducted in three locations – Bordertown, Bendigo and Parramatta. The aims of the case studies were to gain a greater qualitative understanding of the dynamics of change in communities, to explore community perceptions of Emergency Management Services (EMS) and to identify barriers and opportunities for community engagement and inclusion with EMS. Each case study areas is affected variously by major Australian trends including economic transformation, population growth, increasing cultural diversity, widening inequality and spatial reconfigurations, as well as sustained inequalities based on gender, disability, indigeneity and other forms of diversity. Key themes identified include that EMS are widely held in high regard and there were numerous examples of practical EMS engagement with communities. At the same time, barriers to engagement stem from the perception that EMS do not fully appreciate or understand the changing nature of diversity within their communities, that they appear to be a ‘closed shop’, unwelcoming to women, sometimes intimidating, difficult to communicate with and lacking in transparency and flexibility. While multiple opportunities were identified to enhance community engagement, the overall priority was to approach diversity and inclusion as a dynamic and ongoing process based on proactive relationship-building and collaboration. This is understood as necessary in order to appreciate the lived experience of diverse communities and to harness the community knowledge, languages and skills to better serve the community in the long term. The findings suggest that there is great willingness within communities to facilitate and collaborate towards this goal.

Item type Monograph (Project Report)
Official URL
ISBN 9781862727830
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords diversity; inclusion; communities; case studies; Bordertown; Bendigo; Parramatta; emergency management services; engagement
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