Tourism and Events Information for Victoria’s tourism industry

First 24 hours

Actions to take in the first 24 hours when a crisis event occurs

When a crisis event occurs, there are a range of actions you’ll need to take in the first 24 hours. These actions will help you understand the incident better and better inform your response.

Action checklist

  • Assess the severity of the incident
  • Follow the advice of the emergency services agencies
  • Stay aware of warnings via or an official emergency broadcaster such as ABC
  • Account for everyone
  • Identify any injuries to persons
  • Start an event log
  • Activate staff members and resources
  • Brief staff and customers at your premises
  • Contact clients who are expected to visit your business during the next few days
  • Identify any damage to your property
  • Allocate specific roles and responsibilities
  • Initiate your media protocols
  • Identify critical business activities that have been disrupted
  • Remember to consider your and others' emotional wellbeing

Once you have completed the actions checklist, you can begin next steps.

Step 1: Activate your emergency management plan

Activate your emergency management plan to keep customers, staff and yourself and your property safe and protected.

If you don't have an emergency management plan, use the Immediate action checklist - First 24 hours (PDF 25 KB) as a guide or refer to our emergency planning section.

Step 2: Keep informed

Step 3: Assess the situation

  1. Continue to monitor the situation through
  2. Find out what facilities in your area are operating or closed due to the crisis
  3. Decide if your business should close or remain open.


Record your actions in an 'event log' to ensure you don't forget anything and to help with insurance and/or other claims in the future. This can simply be a spreadsheet or handwritten notes where you record everything that occurs and what decisions you make.

Step 4: Stay calm

Your behaviour and style of communication can have a big impact on your staff and customers. Remain calm as possible as others will be looking to you for leadership.

Creating a less stressful environment during a crisis will increase the likelihood of your customers returning to your business after the crisis event. How you react will affect how your staff will react when carrying out emergency activities.

Step 5: Help your staff to help your business

Your staff will want to do what they can to help. Make sure that you give your staff the information they need to stay calm and provide reassurance to your customers.

Regular briefings

It's important to brief staff on the situation as it unfolds. Build regular briefings to staff schedules and listen to what they pick up from the customers. This will make the feel involved and provide you with invaluable information.

Consistent communication

Your staff need to understand how enquiries are to be handled as they are your interface with the customer. Prepare a template of key messages that you want staff to pass on to customers and keep these updated. Make sure the 'script' is concise, factual and projects a calm image, with an emphasis on following safety advice.


Also remember to keep staff informed who are not currently at work.

Step 6: Communicate with your customers and suppliers

  • Update customers directly in your care by talking to them personally about the crisis, whenever possible
  • Contact customers who are expected to visit your business during the next few days to let them know if they can visit, especially if your business is not operational or access routes are closed.
  • Update your social media and website with a brief, factual statement about the status of the situation
  • Contact your suppliers to update them on the situation.

Find out more about how to protect your bookings.

Step 7: Be prepared to be contacted by the media

If the media contacts you, it is advised that you defer media enquiries to your regional tourism board (RTB).

If you need to respond to the media, you should refer to your media protocols:

  • create key messages about the situation in consultation with your RTB
  • update these messages as the situation evolves.

If you are asked by the RTB to talk to the media, it's useful to keep the following in mind:

  • Be factual and don't speculate
  • Be calm, reassuring and positive
  • Acknowledge the responsibility to visitors and community
  • Acknowledge the importance of visitor welfare (if appropriate)
  • If appropriate, empathise with the victims of the incident.
Page last updated: 25 Oct 2023
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