Reaction of Emergency Services uPON Disasters in Queensland

Grant ID: EMLE-128R31-2019-WEBER

Project Summary

From a health perspective, a disaster overwhelms the normal operating capacity of a health service, where an outside health response is required to restore and maintain the normal day-to-day health services and standards of care for the disaster-affected community. The Australian healthcare system is tested annually with disasters of a conventional nature (e.g., floods, cyclones, bushfires), however, the Australian healthcare system has not been recently tested by non-conventional disasters such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) disasters. As a result, the ability to determine the healthcare system response is difficult. Further, there is no research specific to the Australian emergency department’s capacity for disaster response in CBRNe events.

This study addresses this gap. We will use a mixed methods approach to undertake two discrete, yet related studies. Study 1 involves undertaking surveys with key emergency disaster personnel from seven Queensland hospitals to describe the capacity of hospital emergency care services ability to respond following a CBRNe disaster. Study 2 includes undertaking focus groups with key clinicians and leaders from the participating sites to identify and explore enablers and barriers within emergency care services to provide CBRNe disaster response. Findings from these studies will provide an evidence base regarding the capacity for several Queensland emergency departments, located in metropolitan, regional and rural settings, to respond to disasters.



- Mackie, B.R., Weber, S., Mitchell, M.L., Crilly, J., Wilson, B., Handy, M., Wullschleger, M., Sharpe, J., McCaffery, K., Lister, P., Boyd, M., Watkins, N. and Ranse, J., 2022. Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear Response in Queensland Emergency Services: A Multisite Study. Health Security, 20(3), pp.222-229.


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Ms Sarah Weber

Co Investigators:
Dr Nathan Watkins
Dr Jamie Ranse
Prof Marion Mitchell
Prof Julia Crilly
Mr Ben Mackie

Associate Investigators:
Dr Paula Lister
Prof Martin Wullschleger
Mr Joe Sharpe
Mr Michael Handy
Mr Matthew Boyd


Collaborating Institutions

CONTACT US +61 7 3720 5700 Suite 1B, Terraces, 19 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064