2020 Webinar Recordings

In the lead-up to the EMPA 2020 Conference successful virtual event, EMPA took this opportunity to provide delegates with further digital access to expert presentations.

Click on the titles below to jump to the webinar information and recording:

Understanding fake news in emergencies – bots, trolls and the media cycle, Dr Tim Graham

Motivators, experiences & emotions: being an SES volunteer, A/Prof Patrick

CFS Bushfire Ready Campaign 2020, Kathy Baklan 

How decision making is affected by stress & what it means for emergency communicators, Prof Jim McLennan


Social media bots and trolls have taken over from rumours as the next big challenge for emergency response communicators – but do we know enough to counter their destructive messaging? 

Queensland University of Technology social media researcher, Tim Graham, is part of a research team that investigated the role of bots and trolls in the rise of #ArsonEmergency during the bushfires, and is now examining similar false narratives in COVID-19. Join the first EMPA webinar to discover how to detect the influence of bots and trolls on emergency dialogue, and the motivations of these types of Twitterati that will help you counter these false narratives.

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DATE:  Thursday 14 May 2020


Dr Tim Graham

Senior Lecturer, Digital Media, Queensland University of Technology (QUT

Dr Graham is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). His research combines computational methods with social theory to study online networks and platforms, with a particular interest in online bots and trolls, disinformation, and online ratings and rankings devices.

He is a Chief Investigator of an ARC Discovery Project that utilises large-scale hyperlink network analysis and web experiments to comparatively assess the web presence of 10 countries. He develops open source software tools for big data analysis, and has published in journals such as Information, Communication & Society, Information Polity, Big Data & Society, and Critical Social Policy.

Motivators, experiences & emotions: being an SES volunteer

EMPA Australia  2020 Awards For Excellence in Emergency Communication – Research HIGHLY COMMENDED

This study, from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (see team names to right), covers research that is providing insights and data nationally to help develop new recruitment and retention strategies for State Emergency Services (SES) volunteers. 

Findings show that volunteers deeply value their connection to their unit, derive meaning from both positive and negative emotional experiences, and sometimes have vague expectations about emergency services volunteering. Managing the expectations of volunteers is not a simple task; some volunteers have too few expectations, and others too many. Both of these scenarios can lead to volunteers having a negative experience and influence their turnover intentions.

PRESENTER: A/Prof Patrick Dunlop, Curtin University
DATE: Tuesday 4 August 2020

Study team

A/Prof Patrick Dunlop
Dr Djurre Holtrop
Prof Marylène Gagné
(Curtin University)

Dr Darja Kragt
Dr Aleksandra Luksyte
Hawa  Muhammad Farid
(University of Western Australia)

Session recording

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Pat Dunlop

Patrick Dunlop

Associate Professor

Patrick completed his Master of Industrial and Organisational Psychology and PhD at the University of Western Australia in 2012 and he now is an Associate Professor at the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University. His research is focused on personnel recruitment, assessment, and selection and how these processes occur in the digital age. Patrick also has three years’ of professional experience working in the recruitment sector as a psychological assessment consultant. His research with the emergency services volunteer sector, funded by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in Western Australia, focuses on understanding how to apply the principles learned from organisational psychology to the attraction and retention of emergency services volunteers across Australia.

CFS Bushfire Ready Campaign 2020

EMPA Australia  2020 Awards For Excellence in Emergency Communication – Readiness and resilience WINNER

The Bushfire Ready Campaign strategically aligned to the SA CFS Corporate Plan objective Supporting Resilient Communities through Risk Reduction and specifically addressed the target: to achieve a 10% increase in the number of current households in high bushfire prone areas that have a self- assessed level of preparedness for a bushfire by 2020.

The SACFS Be Bushfire Ready campaign was planned over a number of months, with consultation with key stakeholders, rigid approval process, qualitative and quantitative research, evaluation and review of the previous years’ campaign and commissioning experienced creative agency and media agencies.

PRESENTER: Kathy Baklan, SA CFS, Media & Communications 
DATE: Thursday 27 August 2020


Kathy Baklan

South Australian Country Fire Service

Kathy Baklan is a marketing professional who specialises in campaign management and has worked for a number of industries including finance, construction, charities and the South Australian Government (SA Government).

She now works for the South Australian Country Fire Service (SACFS) developing and implementing multimedia campaigns, internal and external communications, and media liaison. She is passionate about helping and working for the South Australian Community and her role in the SACFS helps her achieve this by educating the community in high risk bushfire zones on preparedness and resilience.

Kathy is passionate about her work and believes in developing good relationships with creative and media agencies to ensure the very best outcome in meeting organisational objectives. Her first project in the SA Government was to review the number plate pricing and range. She successfully introduced a new range of colours that the public were able to purchase and continues to be well received and continues to provide funds into the Transport Road budget revenue. I often tell people “when I go, at least a part of me will be left on the roads”.

Another passion of Kathy’s is her love of animals and has three border collies and was previously a registered breeder of border collies. Her motto for life is simple – “always, always… be honest, ethical and treat others how you would want to be treated.

Session recording

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Click the image above to view a PDF of the presentation slides, view the video recording of Kathy’s presentation and Q&A, or click the videos below to view the campaign.

View the campaign

Plan ahead

Prepare now

Stay informed

How decision making is affected by stress & what it means for emergency communicators

During his 25 years in counselling psychology, Jim became increasingly interested in how people made decisions. This rekindled interest from early days in safety-related decision making.

PRESENTER: Prof Jim McLennan, La Trobe University
DATE: Thursday 1 October 2020

Session recording

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Professor Jim McLennan

Jim McLennan began his professional career as an industrial/organisational psychologist, and subsequently moved, via occupational psychology, into counselling psychology, in which field he worked for some 25 years as practitioner, educator, and researcher. In the course of research he became increasingly interested in how people made decisions. This rekindled interest from early days in safety-related decision making and in the mid-1990s he began research with the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade investigating decision making by first-on-scene Incident Controllers. In 2004 he joined La Trobe University as a Senior Research Fellow, managing the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre Volunteer Firefighters Project and working on the Firefighter Safe Behaviour and Decision Making Project. Following the 2009 Black Saturday Victorian bushfires he was a member of the Bushfire CRC Task Force undertaking research in the aftermath. He worked on other major post-bushfire studies across Australia 2010 – 2015. He has continued to research aspects of community bushfire safety, especially householder bushfire risk perception and mitigation. He is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.

Click the image above to view a PDF of the presentation slides or view the video recording of the presentation and Q&A