Emergencies that would lead to the activation of the National Incident Room may include:
- significant outbreaks of communicable disease, e.g. an influenza pandemic
- chemical, biological or radiological incident, either accidental or criminal
- mass casualty incidents, e.g. an earthquake or flood
- any emergency where there are a significant number of people needing medical treatment which requires a coordinated national approach
- any emergency where a contingent of Australian medical personnel is required for deployment
Since being established the National incident Room has been activated in the responses to numerous emergencies, including:
- SARS outbreak, 2003
- Indian Ocean tsunami, 2004
- Bali bombings, 2005
- Java earthquake, 2006
- Yogyakarta air crash, 2007
- Victorian bushfires, 2009
- Pandemic (H1N1) 2009
- SIEV explosion Ashmore Reef, 2009
- Pacific tsunami, 2009
- Pakistan floods, 2010
- SIEV sinking Christmas Island, 2010
- QLD and VIC floods, 2011
- Tropical Cyclone Yasi, 2011
- Christchurch Earthquake, 2011
In coordinating the national health response the main activities conducted in the National Incident Room include:
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- servicing the emergency meetings of the Australian Health Protection Committee, and other expert health committees
- providing technical advice to committees and government
- gathering information to assist health and whole of government response decisions
- coordination the deployment of the National Medical Stockpile
- keeping the community informed of the health related aspects of the emergency through the media
- implementing health aspects of Commonwealth disaster plans
- coordinating medical response teams domestically and internationally
- liaison with emergency management sectors in other Commonwealth and state/territory government agencies
National Critical Care and Trauma Response Center
The Commonwealth funds the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) at the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) to maintain a state of readiness for major national health incident and the implementation of strategic priorities.
This initiative significantly increases the capacity for an effective health response to an emergency in our northern region, and to emergencies involving significant casualties. The NCCTRC remains a focused northern hub of research and education ensuring the Australians living overseas, and our regional neighbours, will have greater access to high quality eveidence-based medical and hospital care in the event of an emergency.
The NCCTRC has responded successfully to a series of emergencies in the period 2005 to 2010. These include the second Bali bombings, the East Timor casualties in 2006, the Yogyakarta aviation disaster in March 2007, and the East Timorese Presidential assassination attempt in 2008. The NCCTRC also played a key role in the deployment of AUSMATs in response to the floods in Pakistan in 2010. Further information is available from the NCCTRC website
Public Health Information Line
The Public Health Information Line (PHIL) was established in response to the SARS outbreak in 2004. Since that time its role has evolved, and it now provides a point of contact for questions and information from the public on relevant emerging threats and hot issues at the time.
PHIL can be used in the event of an incident that requires the provision of public health information to the public.
PHIL operations from 8:30am to 5pm AEST/EADT, Mon to Fri. In the event on an incident, hours of operation can be extended to 24 hours per day, seven days a week with 24 hours notice.
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