This research collaborated with diversity and inclusion practitioners in the sector to develop an evidence-based Diversity and Inclusion Framework for Emergency Management Policy and Practice. Diversity is the blend of different people in an organisation or community, each with their own identities, goals and abilities, while inclusion can only occur when those differences are valued and people are able to contribute fully. The emergency management sector has begun to address the low representation of true diversity and inclusion in its workforce, as a tangible way to strengthen resilience, wellbeing and community safety.
Effective diversity and inclusion is an imperative for all emergency service agencies if they are to mitigate and manage the human, social and innovation risk associated with the changing risk landscape occupied by organisations and communities. Implementation of diversity and inclusion is present in emergency service agencies but often lacking and not well-integrated into organisational systems, focusing on ‘obtaining (gender-based) diversity quotas’ rather than creating an inclusive culture. The benefits of diversity and inclusion are often not well understood at an organisational level or are seen as a cost, showing that diversity and inclusion skills are not being acknowledged in the same way as more technical skills. There is also a lack of awareness of what constitutes appropriate language use and behaviours in relation to diverse communities and individuals. Along with helpful guides, this framework can support organisations as they develop more diverse and inclusive structures and policies.