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PUN451 | Disaster Management | Management

PUN451 | Disaster Management | Management


Disasters are events which profoundly disrupt human systems. The cause may be natural, human-created or a combination, but the impact on the social, economic, environmental and technological context defines the nature of disaster. Effective management of disasters requires people who can advise, lead, and enable individuals/communities/organisations to prepare for, respond to and recover from the impacts of disasters. Individuals responsible for planning,

preparation and management of health and essential services during a major incident should have an extensive understanding of the principles of disaster management, the disaster management arrangements in place internationally, nationally and locally and should possess the skills necessary to advise or lead organisations during such events. They should also have the capacity to evaluate against community standards, the arrangements that are in place and responses to such incidents. Upon completion of this unit, you should be better equipped to plan and prepare health and essential services for major incidents and better understand and contribute to the management of a major incident should it occur.
This unit is part of a suite of four related units which are available each year. They are:
  • PUN451 Disaster Management is an introduction to the principles and practice of major incident and disaster management and helps develop your knowledge and skills in the management of such incidents. It is conducted over the first five weeks of Semester 1 and includes an intensive block of one week in the second week of semester.
  • PUN452 Disaster Planning and Preparedness examines the detail of planning and preparedness arrangements and their application to real world situations. It is conducted over the remaining eight weeks of Semester 1 and includes a two day seminar.
  • PUN453 Disaster Response and Recovery examines the detail of response and recovery arrangements and their application to real world situations. It is conducted over the first eight weeks of Semester 2 and includes a two day seminar.
  • PUN454 Leadership in Disaster Management provides leadership perspectives of disaster management and explores how to translate principles and practice into reality. It is conducted over the last five weeks of Semester 2 and includes an intensive block of one week in the second last week of the Semester

 Communication with Staff

For enquiries about this unit, contact the Unit Coordinator by email or phone. Staff will endeavour to respond within two working days.
For enquiries about your course, contact the School of Public Health Student Centre at 3138 3368, or refer to the School of Public Health and Social Work Student Guide.


The aim of this unit is to develop your knowledge of the principles and practice of major incident management and thus enable you to contribute to improving the system’s ability to effectively manage such incidents.
On completion of this unit you should be able to:
  1. Identify and critically analyse the principles and practice of disaster management
  2. Critically apply knowledge of the systems, structures, and the impact of disasters throughout the continuum of planning, preparedness, response and recovery
  3. Demonstrate your capacity to evaluate performance against the principles, standards and accepted practice

Module 1: The Conceptual Basis for Disaster Management

This module explores the historical and conceptual context within which disaster management occurs including the history, causes, impacts, concepts, principles, system and structures that underpin effective disaster management

Module 2: Pre­event management (getting ready)

This module addresses prevention and mitigation, risk identification and management, planning and community preparedness for disasters.

Module 3: Incident Management (Response)

This module addresses the management of incidents during the acute phase including the principles and practice, incident assessment, incident management systems, and the special response arrangements required for particular events.

Module 4: Rehabilitation, recovery and development

This module examines the post­event aspects of disaster management required to support communities as they recover and adapt. It addresses the human­social aspects including mental health, restoration of community function and evaluation and reporting to inform the development of improved community resilience.

Approaches to teaching and learning

This unit is available in both external and internal mode.
A study guide, complete with interactive tasks, supports knowledge and analytical skills shared through lectures, interactive tutorials, scenarios and case based exercises. There is a focus on the application of disaster management principles to real situations. You will access extensive reading materials including: case studies and reports, research papers, model plans, and relevant documents for critical appraisal and application to support a scholarly, evidence-based approach to practice. The unit is based on adult learning principles which recognise the variations in students’ experience and knowledge and provide opportunities for students to explore material in accordance with their individual needs.
This unit will include a block mode (5 days) component with online contact for liaison on clarification of content and/or issues arising from the intensive contact and assessment items.
NB: Lectures for this unit will be delivered during a five-day intensive block program to which all internal students are expected to attend, external students are also welcome. Although we will endeavour to audiotape the lecture and provide any relevant lecture notes, this relies upon the technology working properly on the day and can never be assured. Access to the lectures can only be assured by being there.

Course materials

The material for this course comes in multiple forms including written materials, lectures, interactive discussion and electronic resources. We will provide you with access to an extensive array of materials and you will need to exercise your judgement in regard to what you need to read and how intensely you
need to peruse the material. You do not need to read every item exhaustively. In line with the principles of adult learning, you need to be selective in your reading. You should learn to scan items for essential information and to identify items of information that are useful.
You will be provided with extensive reading materials including the Unit Information Document, Study Guide and associated readings.
  • The Unit Information booklet (this document) provides an outline of the program and all the administrative details associated with the unit, including schedule of study and contact details.
  • The Study Guide provides structured points for study by defining or highlighting important concepts that should emerge from your readings. We will provide you with access to chapters of a text currently being prepared for this program. You should enhance this guide by the addition of readings and the activities from lectures and tutorials. The study guide will identify a number of readings, videos and other forms of case study which will help broaden your understanding of the principles of disaster management
  • The Readings are intended to be read in conjunction with the Study Guide and Lecture Notes, and will often be the basis for the activities in the modules.
You are encouraged to read as widely as you can. All students should scan the internet for relevant sites and additional information. The readings will include case reports, research papers, model plans and government documents.
This unit is presented principally in an intensive block of lectures and other exercises in the second week of the semester. A detailed program is attached to this document. Please note this program may change before delivery. Any changes will be communicated to students at the opening session of the intensive block. During that intensive program, students will be provided with face to face instruction by a wide selection of key personnel involved in disaster management. The presentations will cover not only the core principles but also expose students to case studies and to apply the principles derived from the materials provided to particular events through desktop exercises.
  • Lecture notes in the form of Power Point slides will be developed for each of the sessions. These will be made available on Blackboard progressively during the term.
  • Podcasts comprising a recording of each presentation or a brief summary of the presentation will be provided and will be downloadable form the Blackboard site.

Study suppor

Students will be provided guidance, support and advice for the duration of the unit from the Unit Coordinator. There is also a vast range of support services offered for both internal and external students, both domestic and international. You are encouraged to access these services if you require further support with your study. Details of how to access the resources can be found via the following links:
  • Learning and study skills – Home page
  • Ask a Librarian – Librarians are available for students to get one-on-one help.
  • Assessment support – Assessment support for students with a permanent or temporary disability or health condition.
  • Assistive technology support – Assistive technology computer laboratories
  • Blackboard Collaborate – Blackboard Collaborate is a live web conferencing tool in QUT Blackboard that allows staff and students to interact online in real time via a virtual classroom.
  • Copyright guide – The QUT Copyright Guide is a general guide to the observance of Australian copyright law at QUT.
  • Credit for prior learning – You may be able to have your past studies or work experience count as credit towards your QUT course.
  • External Studies Support – We provide a library service for students studying externally.
  • IELTS testing – The IELTS tests are designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.
  • Indigenous services (student) – The Oodgeroo Unit provides services to support Indigenous Australian students and promotes cultural awareness and social justice.
  • Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme – The ITAS program provides tutorial assistance to eligibl
  • IT training – IT training is available for students and staff to develop their IT skills and knowledge.
  • Language and learning assistance – International students needing help with an assignment, or having any other problems with study, may make an appointment with a Language and Learning Adviser.
  • Learning spaces – Library has a range of learning spaces fitted with audiovisual facilities designed to support students and lecturers in their learning and teaching.
  • Library – group study spaces – All QUT libraries have areas equipped with furniture and technology designed to facilitate collaborative group working for students.
  • Library borrowing services – on all three campuses.
  • Library helpdesk – Library helpdesks assist users in finding relevant information and help them improve their study skills answers general library queries.
  • Library liaison service – Liaison Librarians link Faculties and Divisions to services offered by the Library and the Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support.
  • Library services (external) – External Library Services provides postal and electronic delivery of physical items from the Library for QUT External students, both domestic and overseas.
  • Library tours and workshops – Library tours and workshops are available throughout the year and assist clients to actively locate information and use resources.
  • Notetaker program – Peer notetaker program for students who are unable to take notes in class.
  • Print and online information resources – print and online information resources including books, journals, audio visual material, ebooks and more.
  • QUT Virtual – QUT Virtual is the University’s intranet portal.
This unit will use the QUT Blackboard site exclusively to support students throughout this program and to communicate with students. Course materials will be placed on the Blackboard site.
NB: It is absolutely essential that you check this site regularly as it is our only means of communicating directly to you as we do not hold your private email addresses.

Reference sources

Those wanting other perspectives, or who are seeking special information to meet assessment requirements may find the following references useful sources of additional information.


NB: You do not need to purchase any text and certainly not multiple texts.
Recommended text:
  • Gerard FitzGerald, Michael Tarrant, Peter Aitken and Marie Fredriksen (Editors) Disaster Health Management: A Primer for Students and Practitioners Routledge UK. 2016
Please note that although this text was produced by QUT staff, there is no personal financial benefit to anyone involved in the book’s production as any royalties will be donated to Medicins Sans Frontiers.
Other texts:
  • Coppola D. Introduction to International Disaster Management. Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier) 2007.
  • Koenig K and Schultz C. Koenig and Schultz’s Disaster medicine. Comprehensive principles and practices. Cambridge Medicine. 2010.
  • Ciottone, G, Disaster Medicine, Mosby Elsevier 2006
  • Hogan, D & Burntein J, Disaster Medicine, Second Edition, Lippincott 2007
  • Antosia, R & Cahill, J, Handbook of bioterrorism and Disaster Medicine, Springer NY 2006
  • Hogan D & Burnstein J. 2007. Disaster Medicine. 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Powers R & Daily E. International Disaster Nursing. Cambridge University Press 2010.
  • Pinkowski J. (Ed.) 2008. Disaster Management Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
NB: You do not need to purchase any text and certainly not all texts


The following journals may be useful sources of additional information for clarity or special enquiry. These journals include those that are specific to disaster management. Additional material will be provided to students throughout the course
  • Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
  • The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (IJDRR)
  • Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
  • The Australian Journal of Emergency Management
  • Prehospital and Disaster Medicin
  • Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • Disasters
  • American Journal of Disaster Medicine
Please full access to content in these journals may only be available via the QUT Librar

Emergency health journals:

  • Emergency Medicine Journal
  • The European Journal of Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine Australasia
  • WHO Bulletin


These websites will also be helpful sources of information that will assist you with location of information. Additional material will be provided to students throughout the course.
  • QUT Library
  • Emergency Management Australia
  • Relief Web
  • Department of Health and Ageing
  • Public Health Emergency
  • Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • World Health Organisation
  • United Nations Development Program
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • The International Disasters Database (EM-DAT)
  • The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)
  • Disaster Assist –
  • Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge HubQueensland Government Disaster Management


Please be aware, that we are committed to continuous improvement of these programs. Feedback on the unit content, assessment and learning opportunities is welcome and opportunities will be available towards the end of the program and during the block programs. In addition, feedback on the content and scope of the unit may be provided directly, either personally or by email to the Unit Coordinator.

Unit Cost

There is a recommended text but you do not need to purchase it as all the information will be available through the study Guide and other resources. All of the material will be available on Blackboard or elsewhere. You are not expected to print out or photocopy this material. Some students from out of Brisbane may need to travel and obtain accommodation to attend the block program. This will be at the student’s expense

Intensive Schedul

This unit will be presented through both internal and external study format. The principal delivery will be via a one week intensive block of lectures. All students are strongly encouraged to attend this block but attendance is not compulsory although international students will need to attend to meet their Visa requirements
Refer to the Unit Program below as a guide to the schedule of lecture. Please note whilst the block program dates will remain the same, the program may be subject to change without notice.

General assessment information

All assessment items are designed to reinforce your learning. Lectures and tutorials will include formative assessment through activities on selected topics. These activities are intended to help reinforce your understanding as you read through the various materials provided to you.
You should consider assessment as a further means of learning not simply a measure of success. The process of writing assignments helps you consolidate your thoughts into a fashion which is meaningful and useful to you and therefore helps you understand the concepts or principles. Similarly the preparation for examinations helps focus your thinking

Feedback to student

Individual feedback will accompany each assessment item. Feedback will be also provided during in-class learning exercises

Assessment Item One: Workbook

At the end of each module, workbook exercises will be set which are designed as a review of the module. The workbook should be drafted prior to and during the intensive block program. Responses should be submitted online
The objective of the workbook is to help focus your learning by identifying issues of significance and to provide you with feedback
The workbook is a summative assessment, intended to assist you with progress in your learning
Ensure that you have pasted a copy of the question for each module above your answer for clarity
The response to each activity should not exceed two pages with standard text spacing; most could be done in far less space. Where there are sub parts to the activity the total should not exceed the two pages. It is up to you to decide how to weight the different parts within these pages, as some will take more time than others
Unit Information Document 19

Assessment Item Two: Case Report

Imagine you have been asked to write a detailed review of an incident for a response and relief agency. The questions posed are; “were they prepared, did they manage it well and did they recover well?
We will provide you with several events from which to choose one to analys
Students will undertake an examination of the event. A commentary of the event should be prepared including:
  1. A description of the event
  2. An analysis of how the event was managed and if that management accorded with the principles of effective disaster management throughout the cycle of preparedness, response and recovery
  3. A discussion of how the lessons learned (both what went well and what did not go well) may be applied in the future
In addition the assignment should be presented to a high standard of academic writing with appropriate use of references
The assignment should demonstrate your analytical abilities, an understanding of the basic principles and the ability to identify and critically analyse the issues.
Students should undertake this task individually, although it is recognised that individual students may elect to examine the same event. If you are at all concerned then discuss your selection with one of the staff.
The word limit for this assessment must not exceed 3000 words. If you submit an assignment that falls well below, or exceeds this limit, it is likely you will lose marks for a lack of information at one extreme or for not being clear and concise at the other.

Requests for Extensions

New policy has been introduced from Semester 1, 2014 whereby assessment work submitted after the due date without an approved extension will normally not be marked and will receive a grade of 1 or 0%.
This new policy reflects the expectations of professional practice for meeting deadlines and provides consistent University wide approach for students. A single online extension process for applying for assignment extensions has been developed. Updated information for students is now available on
Please also note: Assignments are to be submitted electronically via Turnitin on the Blackboard (Assessment tab) by the due date.
All summative assessment items will be marked using a standardised assessment criteria sheet detailing levels of attainment against learning outcomes. In addition, students should note the following:
  • Assignments should be prepared according to the Cite Write guidelines on the library web site Students are expected to use non-discriminatory language at all times.
  • A list of references (as distinct from a bibliography) must be provided at the end of each assignment. A format recommended in the above publication must be used.
  • Please refer to the QUT Policy regarding academic dishonesty so that you are aware of policy concerning penalties for breaching assessment rules.
  • Assignments will be graded in accordance with Criterion Referenced Assessment (CRA).

Academic Integrity

QUT is committed to maintaining high academic standards to protect the value of its qualifications. To assist you in assuring the academic integrity of your assessment you are encouraged to make use of the support materials and services available to help you consider and check your assessment items. Important information about the university’s approach to academic integrity of assessment is on your unit Blackboard site.
A breach of academic integrity is regarded as student misconduct and can lead to the imposition of penalties.
*Please refer to the Student Rules for more information regarding

Copies of Assessment

Students must retain a full copy of any assessment materials handed in and be able to provide this in the event that assignments are lost or destroyed.

Risk Assessment Statement

There are no out of the ordinary risks with this unit, apart from those associated with substantial computer-based work. You should refer to the guidelines for safe work at VDUs contained in the SPH
  • SW Guidelines to Students. Also ensure that your workstation is adjusted in accordance with these guidelines and that regular rest breaks are taken.

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