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Case Study: Kingston City Council

Flexibility and proactivity were top of the list for Kingston City Council when it needed a partner to provide emergency response planning for 43 diverse sites. Working with First 5 Minutes, the Council realises the benefits of emergency response planning that is always compliant, yet never stands still.


  • Challenge: Kingston City Council needed compliant emergency response planning and training for over 43 sites, including many multitask “hubs”.
  • Solution: First 5 Minutes provides a flexible all-in-one solution comprising customised Emergency Management Manuals (EMM) and training for each site. The online portal provides real-time visibility for the Council and site managers.
  • Result: Kingston City Council is realising the benefits of emergency response planning that is always compliant, yet never stands still.

Business Challenge

Kingston City Council is a major council governing 19 suburbs, about 15 kilometres south of Melbourne CBD. Together with 13 kilometres of beaches, natural wetland and green wedge land, Kingston City Council manages 43 diverse sites, ranging from bustling community buildings to its own offices in Mentone.

When Richard Gawley joined the Council as Major Building Facilities Maintenance Officer of Community Buildings in 2011, he was faced with a fragmented and inconsistent approach to emergency response planning and training for these sites. He initiated a tender process, with the goal to engage a provider flexible enough to keep up with the evolving site portfolio, while also supporting and supplementing the Council’s internal efforts around emergency response.

In addition to the breadth of sites, Kingston City Council faced the challenge of managing emergency response planning for a number of “hubs” – sites with multiple uses and occupants. For example, a community hall may accommodate a maternal healthcare group, day-care centre and meetings, as well as being hired for after-hours functions. Not only does each of these tenants need to be properly trained in emergency response and evacuation, but some tenants also need to comply with regulations and legislation over and above the Australian Standards. The day-care centre, for example, needs to comply with requirements set by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

First 5 Minutes stood out immediately to Richard Gawley as offering the total package: compliance, training and procedures in one organisation.


First 5 Minutes was immediately tasked with providing compliant Emergency Management Manuals (EMM) and training for each site. First 5 Minutes Regional Manager Terry Attwell worked closely with Kingston City Council to meet their requirements and those of each individual site. As well as comprehensive fire response and evacuation training, the program was designed to equip tenants and staff with the skills to manage bomb and substance threats, suspicious packages, contaminated mail and personal threat incidences. First 5 Minutes and Kingston City Council worked together to devise a calendar of training, scheduling 12 months in advance, to ensure the Council maintains compliance with Australia Standards.

Complete Visibility
A key advantage for Kingston City Council is not only in the expert solution First 5 Minutes provides, but how it can be seamlessly managed via the online compliance portal. With so many sites to keep track of, Richard Gawley relies heavily on the First 5 Minutes portal for real-time records of emergency response training and documentation. Individual site managers can also log in and see specific information related to their site.

“The tool is extremely valuable. Because it’s a live document, I can easily log in and get an overview of the sites at any time. This saves time chasing people and trying to find the right information for reporting and planning,” says Richard Gawley.

Keeping pace with Change
Nothing stands still at Kingston City Council; sites are continually added, removed or moved to a new location. Added to this is the challenge of multitask hubs and their complex compliance needs. However, First 5 Minutes has the flexibility and proactivity to provide additional customised training and manuals, as needed.

“The best thing is I can pick up the phone and give Terry Attwell a call,” says Richard Gawley. “I have one point of contact I can rely on when I need something.”


Working with First 5 Minutes, Kingston City Council has emergency response planning that is always compliant, yet never stands still. And with the heightened awareness of terrorism threats, this is exactly the kind of partner it needs to ensure each of its sites can continue to keep people as safe as possible, even in the face of new dangers.

“Nothing is ever too much of a problem for First 5 Minutes. We know it can be frustrating with new sites coming on board and staff members moving around, but First 5 Minutes are extremely flexible. They understand our requirements and deliver on them consistently.”

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