Emergency Management – Use of Aviation policy

Policy Number TI-O-113 Version 3
Authorised By Deputy Director General, Biosecurity and Food Safety
Authorised Date 16/07/2015
Issued By Biosecurity Operations, Biosecurity and Food Safety
Effective Date 24/07/2015


This policy outlines the safe and efficient use of aviation for emergency operations.


This policy only relates to aviation activities for emergency management in NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and not for general business. Personnel involved in emergency operations may include NSW DPI and participating and supporting organisation personnel, contractors and affected stakeholders.

The main uses of aviation in emergency operations include:

  • Aerial surveillance
  • Aerial spraying
  • Aerial spotting
  • Aerial transport of personnel and animal transport including external lifting
  • Animal welfare assessment and/or destruction
  • Aerial mustering


  1. This policy aims to ensure the effective and efficient use of aircraft to achieve operational objectives within acceptable risk parameters. All aircraft use must comply with national and state regulations, rules, and standards.
  2. Aviation operations must comply with NSW environmental legislation and NSW DPI environmental policies and procedures.

    Expression of Interest
  3. This policy must be used in conjunction with the NSW DPI Critical Risk Control – Aircraft Services, which provide the contractual framework for the use of aircraft. NSW DPI emergency operations will only use contracted aircraft that meet the requirements of the relevant Expression of Interest (EOI) Provisions.
  4. NSW DPI is an agency under the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) State Air Desk (SAD) EOI for the purpose of accessing aviation resources including provision of aircraft, air personnel and fuel. A number of other government agencies responsible for emergency response in NSW also access resources through this process to improve safety and coordination of aviation assets in NSW. Each agency has a representative on the Inter-Agency Aviation Working Group (IAAWG), which is coordinated by NSW RFS.
  5. The safety of contractors and personnel is of paramount importance. EOIs must stipulate that contractors must meet strict requirements before they, their aircrew or their aircraft or other equipment will be considered. Operators must also demonstrate the implementation of effective and operable Safety Management Systems.
  6. NSW RFS SAD maintains an online database (with restricted access) of operators including, at a minimum, aircraft and operator details as well as approvals and non-approvals as part of the EOI process. Operators must be assessed as meeting NSW DPI requirements and standards prior to use.
  7. There must be an ongoing assessment process implemented and managed by NSW RFS to ensure as far as practicably possible that Operators remain compliant and in conformance with regulations, rules, policies and procedures.

  8. To conform to this policy, the use of NSW DPI Emergency Management aviation task profiles, policies and procedures is required.
  9. Each aviation task must have a current task profile. All personnel involved in NSW DPI aviation operations must refer to and comply with task profiles. These task profiles must explain the roles and tasks to be undertaken, describe aircraft use, set requirements and standards for audits and assessments, and provide guidance for resourcing.
  10. All personnel must comply with NSW DPI Emergency Management aviation task profiles, policies and procedures unless dispensation has been sought from and provided by the State Coordination Centre Operations Manager.
  11. Personnel involved in aviation operations should be appropriately trained and must be competent to perform the role.
  12. Any person within a crew may cancel or cut short a flight if that person has reason to be concerned about the safety of that flight. A pilot may not be pressured to conduct a flight if the pilot has concerns about the safe operation of the flight.
  13. Persons (eg passengers) being carried on contracted aircraft must conform to NSW DPI rules and standards, such as the task profile.
  14. Procedures must be implemented to ensure the forecasting, coordination and tracking of aviation resources.
  15. The State Coordination Centre is responsible for strategic planning and allocation of aviation resources. A Local Control Centre is responsible for the tactical planning and tasking of aviation resources.
  16. Data and results of prior usage of aviation resources should be analysed in order to support planning and resource allocation.
  17. Procedures must be implemented to ensure the effective and efficient coordination of aviation resources both within the agency, and with other agencies, contractors and suppliers.


Roles and responsibilities

  • State Coordination Centre – responsible for strategic planning and allocation of aviation resources
  • Local Control Centre – responsible for the tactical planning and tasking of aviation resources
  • NSW DPI Emergency Management Unit and NSW RFS Aviation Section – responsible for contracting and auditing of aviation assets
  • Personnel operating in or around aircraft – refer to the relevant task profile

Safety considerations

Aviation tasks are high risk activities and personnel involved in the aviation operations must be competent for the tasks being undertaken, have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and be aware of the risks. Aviation activities are to be kept to a minimum with alternatives used where possible.


  • Financial delegations – Emergency response delegations


  • EOI: Expression of Interest
  • IAAWG: Inter-Agency Aviation Working Group
  • NSW DPI: NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • NSW RFS: NSW Rural Fire Service
  • PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
  • SAD: State Air Desk
  • Task profile: Approved description and analysis of an aviation task to determine limits and requirements


Related policies

Other related documents

  • NSW Department of Industry – Critical Risk Control – Aircraft Services

Superseded documents

  • None
Revision history
VersionDate issuedNotesBy
1 2 Nov 2011 For approval Agricultural Protection Officer (Policy)
2 26 June 2012 Included RFS SAD EOI Agricultural Protection Officer (Policy)
3 17 June 2015 Update EOI process & references; personnel involved Emergency Management Officer

Review date

30 June 2017


Emergency Operations, Biosecurity Operations, Biosecurity and Food Safety
02 6391 3771