Youth consultation when planning for emergencies

Australia has experienced a number of large disasters in the past few years. Examples are the extensive floods in Queensland in 2011 and the deadly bushfires in 2009. Susan Davie works in government emergency management and is a big advocate for engaging youth in the planning process. She shares her impressions of a pilot youth consultation.

One of the gaps in emergency management (EM) planning in Australia is the lack of consultation with young people. In essence young people do not have a voice, even though there is no doubt that children and young people are affected by disasters and emergency events. They do have specific needs, from child toilets in evacuation facilities to youth-centered psychosocial interventions.

Health and Human Services Emergency Management in Victoria is currently coordinating a project on planning for children and young people in emergency management.[i] As part of this project, we just undertook a pilot youth consultation in the Macedon Ranges Shire, a beautiful area at about an hour’s drive from Melbourne. The local committee was keen to hear the thoughts and ideas of young people and integrate them in their emergency management plans. Continue reading