Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker - Draft 2

HLTAEDR001 Respond to community disasters_Draft 2

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Unit application and prerequisites




Respond to community disasters


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to recognise situations that require a disaster response, follow procedures in an established disaster plan and complete post-disaster follow-up activities. Depending on local planning responsibilities, the disaster plan may have been developed by the employer organisation or another agency.


Disasters are diverse in nature, and this unit can cover health-related disasters including epidemics and pandemics.


Skills for responding to medical emergencies are covered in another unit.


This unit is specific to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people working as health workers or health practitioners. They work as part of a multidisciplinary primary health care team and have an important community role when disasters occur in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.


No regulatory requirement for certification, occupational or business licensing is linked to this unit at the time of publication. For information about practitioner registration and accredited courses of study, contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia (ATSIHPBA).




Emergency and Disaster Response


Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health



Elements describe the essential outcomes

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

  1. Identify required response to disaster.
    1. Identify situations that trigger the need for disaster response.
    2. Locate and access relevant plans and procedures for responding to disasters, including health service business continuity plan.
    3. Seek information about the situation from key people and community members within time and other constraints.
    4. Identify specific and immediate community impacts and needs from information obtained.
    5. For the particular disaster, identify response role and actions for the primary health care team, in consultation with team and others.
  1. Follow disaster plan procedures.
    1. Reconfirm own role, responsibilities and relationships with others in disaster response.
    2. Establish and maintain communication with others according to disaster plan chain of command requirements.
    3. Complete and accurately document response tasks and outcomes according to organisational and disaster plan procedures and within scope of responsibility.
    4. Monitor progress through observation and consultation with other responders.
    5. Provide key people and the community with updated status reports within time and other constraints.
  1. Follow-up disaster.
    1. Participate in ongoing or post disaster response debrief according to organisational and community requirements.
    2. Identify the need for follow-up services based on specific situation and agree on actions in consultation with primary health care team.
    3. Provide feedback about the effectiveness of the disaster plan to those responsible for its development and maintenance.
    4. Identify and follow requirements for maintaining current knowledge of relevant disaster plans and own roles and responsibilities.


Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

  • interpret unfamiliar and potentially complex disaster planning documentation and procedures.

Oral communication skills to:

  • use open and closed probe questions and active listening to obtain information about current situations
  • provide clear and succinct information and instructions to others about disaster response requirements.

Problem-solving skills to:

  • respond to diverse and unexpected situations within time constraints.

Teamwork skills to:

  • work cooperatively as a member of a disaster response team while adhering to chain-of-command requirements.


No equivalent unit.

For details, refer to the full mapping table in the Draft 2 Validation Guide.


Companion Volume Implementation Guide


Foundation Skills

"Reading skills to: As mentioned in my last comment, being exposed the business continuity plans"

Sunni Narayanan 07.05.2021 04.07PM

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Performance Criteria

"Follow disaster plan procedures: To add at point 12, Taking note of community, cultural and language needs"

Sunni Narayanan 07.05.2021 04.05PM

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Performance Criteria

"Identify required response to disaster: On point 3, Could something be added here where they could contribute to the development of a disaster plan? I don’t know if its applicable, as being part of the planning for a business continuity plan would be crucial. I don’t know that this is a requirement of all staff but my thought process is that being exposed to this part of business management would be helpful."

Sunni Narayanan 07.05.2021 04.03PM

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Performance Criteria

"Identify required response to disaster: Should there be something in here about Risk Management plans? Identifying risk and the required response… Or is this part of another module? "

Sunni Narayanan 07.05.2021 04.01PM

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Performance evidence


Assessment Requirements for HLTAEDR001 Respond to community disasters


Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

  • follow the procedures in an established disaster plan in response to two different community disaster situations
  • in each of the two situations:
    • complete two specific response tasks, one of which must be a team task
    • provide one updated status report to an impacted individual or organisation
  • participate in the following during or after each of the above community disaster situations:
    • debriefing session
    • disaster plan feedback process.


Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • organisational policies and procedures for:
    • documenting response tasks and outcomes
    • debriefing during or after disasters
  • contents of the health service’s business continuity plan for operation during and after disasters, and role as a designated essential service
  • types of criteria that determine the need for disaster response:
    • number of people impacted (potential or actual)
    • threat to physical safety and actual injuries or illness
    • threat to housing, community infrastructure, and essential services
    • cultural impact
    • health impacts
  • types of disasters and their potential impacts on communities:
    • large scale accidents with multiple casualties:
      • industrial
      • transport - planes, trains
    • natural:
      • floods
      • fire
      • earthquake
      • extreme weather events
    • health related including epidemics and pandemics
    • security related:
      • acts of violence, including bombings
      • social violence, including riots
  • for disaster response, typical roles of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health services or centres and workers at different levels of seniority
  • different levels of disaster plans and types of agencies involved in their development:
    • state, territory and local government agencies
    • community organisations
    • organisations, including health employers
  • typical components of disaster plans and procedures:
    • relationship between local responsibilities and those at a state or territory level
    • specific roles and responsibilities of emergency services agencies, including chain of command
    • roles of community organisations and members
    • communication before, during and after disaster
    • procedures for specific situations and responses:
      • evacuation
      • organising medical assistance
      • providing assistance to displaced persons with chronic disease who need to self-manage or self-medicate
      • organising shelter
      • securing specific areas and removing individuals or groups
    • follow up services
    • local information:
      • emergency meeting points
      • evacuation centres and venues for service provision
      • health testing centres
    • specific community views and cultural considerations for dealing with disasters
    • distribution, communication and awareness raising of the plan
  • for epidemic and pandemic disasters in particular:
    • local state or territory plans and responses, their changing and responsive nature and how to keep up to date with current requirements
    • infection control measures for the community, clients and health workers
    • types of tests and clinical testing protocols
    • health service reporting requirements
    • the role of the health service centre in providing client and community health education, and general information about government and community based response
  • types of follow-up services that may be needed in the community:
    • counselling
    • community trauma responses
    • community ceremonies
    • community debrief
    • employment-related assistance
    • education about use of damaged infrastructure, utilities and housing to ensure the health and safety of community members
    • physical health checks and treatments
    • education for clients with chronic disease to develop future personal emergency plans to self-manage when displaced
  • ways to support own physical, social and emotional wellbeing when working in disaster response situations.


Skills can only be demonstrated during simulated activities that include the following to reflect real disaster situations:

  • environmental challenges
  • involvement of other people:
    • those affected by the disaster
    • members of the response team
  • time constraints
  • unexpected events.


Assessment must ensure the use of:

  • a disaster plan
  • communication devices to support team and community interactions
  • equipment required for specific type of disaster response
  • organisational policies and procedures for:
    • documenting response tasks and outcomes
    • debriefing during or after disasters.


Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations requirements for assessors, and:

  • be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who has applied the skills and knowledge covered in this unit of competency through experience working as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker or practitioner, or
  • be a registered health practitioner or a disaster coordinator with experience relevant to this unit of competency and be accompanied by, or have assessments validated by, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.


Companion Volume Implementation Guide


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