To know what help is needed and where, you need to know what is happening in your community.
The Information Coordination person, or team, coordinates all the information coming into the Hub.
They collect, display, and try to confirm this information to present a clear picture of what is happening in the community. This information can then be used to prioritise help where it is needed the most.
Information needs to be gathered from any sources available, including people coming into the Hub, and displayed for the Hub team to work with.
Some information will be displayed on a Situation Board to build the overall picture, some will be displayed for the public, and some information will need to be communicated back to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).
Information Coordination role and tasks
Create and maintain the Situation Board
Use materials from the kit and other available resources (whiteboards, sheets of paper, pens, tape, etc.). Use big headings to organise the space.
Display the maps from the Community Emergency Hub kit on the walls or a table.
Information for the board and maps should include:
Known hazards (e.g. slips, liquefaction areas, flooding, contamination or other at-risk areas)
Status of lifelines (tap water, wastewater, stormwater, power, gas, telecommunications, road and rail networks)
Latest weather reports (if available and relevant)
Clearly mark if information isn’t confirmed.
Write down what type of information you want to know
There may be information that you don’t have but which would be useful.
Brainstorm what this information is and where you could find out.
What information would help you know what’s happening? For example, if a specific bridge is flooded or a road is open.
Are there areas of the community you haven’t heard from? If possible, try to check in on these areas. Even if they don’t need help, they might not know about the Hub, and may be able to offer help.
Organise someone to collect information from people as they arrive
When appropriate, ask new arrivals:
Where they have come from and what is happening in their area
What they saw on the way to the Hub
This can be as simple as asking questions like “What street did you come from? What was going on there? Does anyone there need help?” etc.
Suggested Situation Board layout
We suggest a series of columns with the following titles:
Date & Time - When did you find out about it?
Location - Where is it? Record an address if possible.
What’s happening - Brief summary of issue or information reported.
Our response - What you have done or plan to do about it, and who is taking care of it?
Priority/ completed - lots of things may feel important, what needs to happen first? Mark when completed.
Finding more information
If you haven’t been provided with enough information, you will need to send out people to find or confirm that information for you.
What further assistance do you need? A group from the Hub can walk or drive around the community to find out what you need to know. Consider using already established groups to gather information.
Neighbourhood Support or similar groups could collate information from their streets.
Does your area have a Community Patrol, or a 4WD club for accessing hard-to-reach areas? Groups like these may have vehicles and radio communications, which could be useful.
Plan where these groups will be going and arrange a time that they will be due back. People should not go out by themselves. It is safer to go in a group.
Use mobile phones or portable radios to remain in contact with the Hub if possible. Liaise with the Communications team so they know what teams have gone where, and how to stay in touch.
Hub Status Report
The Hub Status Report is a way of keeping the Emergency Operations Centre up to date about what is happening in your community, as well as requesting further assistance. Send an initial Status Report as soon as practicable to advise that you are open, and then update approximately every four hours, or as requested by the Emergency Operations Centre.
The Emergency Operations Centre will want to know about power and water outages, main roads that are blocked, buildings with significant damage, people injured, and other major impacts. They are primarily interested in the challenges your community cannot deal with yourselves and extra assistance you need.
There is a separate information sheet in the Hub kit with contact details for the local Emergency Operations Centre and an outline of the Hub Status Report.