Unit of competency details

HLTAHW310B - Respond to emergencies (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 25/Mar/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by HLTAHW013 - Respond to emergenciesNew unit in Health Training Package Release 1.0. Significant changes to elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment, including volume and environment requirements 30/Jun/2013

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061305 Indigenous Health  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061305 Indigenous Health  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit Descriptor 

This unit describes the competencies required to respond to emergencies that affect the community, in accordance with a prepared plan of action

Application of the Unit


This unit is intended to address skills and knowledge required by those working under supervision at a Certificate II or III level with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities and may involve emergencies of a medical or non-medical nature

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Assess the emergency 

1.1 Seek information about the emergency from key people and the community, as time permits

1.2 Determine needs of the community and/or community members, in consultation with key people and the community, as time permits

2. Identify existing relevant emergency action plans 

2.1 Locate organisational protocols, procedures and plans for responding to emergencies

2.2 Note strategies for responding to emergencies 

3. Identify own and others' roles in implementing the emergency action plan

3.1 Identify own roles and responsibilities

3.2 Identify roles and responsibilities of the Emergency Action Plan Co -ordinator 

3.3 Identify and contact the emergency action plan coordinator, as required

3.4 Identify and contact other workers with responsibilities for responding to the emergency as required

4. Implement the emergency action plan

4.1 Undertake work according to the strategy for responding to the emergency in line with organisation, community and legislative requirements

4.2 Provide key people  and the community with progress reports, as time and client confidentiality permits

4.3 Maintain client and community confidentiality

5. Follow up emergency

5.1 Monitor and review the emergency, in consultation with key people

5.2 Identify follow up services and provide in line with community needs and workers' responsibilities

6. Provide feedback on the emergency action plan

6.1 Provide feedback about the effectiveness of the emergency action plan to key people

6.2 Suggest ways to improve the emergency action plan, if appropriate

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Relevant organisation policies, protocols and procedures
  • Operation of relevant equipment and technology
  • Local resources
  • Key community networks
  • Client confidentiality
  • Local disaster planning processes
  • Legislation protocols and policies or guidelines
  • Networks development
  • Roles and responsibilities as defined by the emergency action plan
  • Community views/directions on responding to emergencies.
  • Cultural and community specific information
  • A broad knowledge base relating to individual and community health, including:
  • biology and development
  • psychology
  • disease and treatment options
  • culture and tradition

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Consult with community members to identify key needs in an emergency
  • Comply with existing emergency plans, procedures and protocols in relation to own role in an emergency
  • Provide feedback about the effectiveness of existing action plans

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Manage community issues in an emergency
  • Apply skills in:
  • networking, consultation/oral communication/ negotiation, addressing cultural issues and community specific information
  • assessment, referral and intervention
  • human resource management
  • report writing (action plan documentation)

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects of assessment :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace
  • Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Conditions of assessment :

This unit includes skills and knowledge specific to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander culture

Assessment must therefore be undertaken by a workplace assessor who has expertise in the unit of competency or who has the current qualification being assessed and who is:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander him/herself


  • accompanied and advised by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is a recognised member of the community with experience in primary health care

Context of assessment :

Competence should be demonstrated working individually, under supervision or as part of a primary health care team working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients

Assessment should replicate workplace conditions as far as possible

Related units :

This unit may be assessed independently or in conjunction with other units with associated workplace application

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Cultural respect 

This competency standard supports the recognition, protection and continued advancement of the inherent rights, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

It recognises that the improvement of the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must include attention to physical, spiritual, cultural, emotional and social well-being, community capacity and governance

Its application must be culturally sensitive and supportive of traditional healing and health, knowledge and practices

Community control 

Community participation and control in decision-making is essential to all aspects of health work, and the role of the health worker is to support the community in this process


Supervision must be conducted in accordance with prevailing state/territory and organisation legislative and regulatory requirements

References to supervision may include either direct or indirect supervision of work by more experienced workers, supervisors, managers or other health professionals

A person at this level should only  be required to make decisions about clients within the organisation's standard treatment protocols and associated guidelines

Legislative requirements 

Federal, state or territory legislation may impact on workers' practices and responsibilities. Implementation of the competency standards should reflect the legislative framework in which a health worker operates. It is recognised that this may sometimes reduce the application of the Range of Variables in practice. However, assessment in the workplace or through simulation should address all essential skills and knowledge across the Range of Variables

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers may be required to operate in situations that do not constitute 'usual practice' due to lack of resources, remote locations and community needs. As a result, they may need to possess more competencies than described by 'usual practice circumstances'

Under all circumstances, the employer must enable the worker to function within the prevailing legislative framework

Key people  (to give feedback ) may include :

  • Supervisor/manager
  • Emergency action plan co-ordinator

Emergencies may include :

  • Any situations which require an urgent response, including:
  • trauma experienced by community members and/or the community
  • other situations that create personal distress to community members and/or the community
  • hazardous environmental incidents
  • car and other vehicle accidents
  • plane crashes
  • mining accidents
  • epidemic diseases
  • any other situations which require an urgent response
  • bomb threats

Key people may include :

  • Key members of the community
  • Community council
  • Health service providers
  • Health workers
  • Other personnel

Emergency action plan refers to :

  • Guidelines and/or plans for responding to the various types of emergencies that might be predicted in the community or workplace

Strategies for responding to community emergencies may include :

  • Counselling
  • Other responses to community trauma
  • Provision of resources and services
  • De-briefing
  • Mobilising other service providers
  • Raising awareness (both within and externally) of the emergency faced by the community
  • Ceremonies
  • Implementing actions requested by the community council
  • Types of treatment
  • Providing access to resources
  • Co-operative arrangements with other service providers, including government and non-government organisations
  • Evacuation

Resources may include :

  • Premises/facilities
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Vehicles/transport
  • Specific skills in workers

Emergency Action Plan Co -ordinator is :

  • The person in the community or service who is assigned the responsibility of coordinating the full implementation of the emergency action plan

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable

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