Risk and community safety

The Risk and Community Safety research program (CRaCS) was established in 2001.

A collaborative research program by the School of Science at RMIT University, the Fenner School for Environment and Society at the Australian National University, and Emergency Management Australia (now merged into the Attorney General’s Department, Canberra), CRaCS is a leading group member of the RMIT Disaster Research Network.

Our primary focus is on Australia, but it is important that our work contributes to and draws on the material provided through global research and experience.


  • To undertake applied research supporting the achievement of safe, resilient communities, through continuous improvement in emergency management.
  • To help identify and satisfy the strategic research needs of emergency management.
  • To develop appropriate mathematical tools for risk analysis and decision support.

Recent achievements and activities

  • Bushfire community safety research based at CRaCS and led by John Handmer was showcased as one of twenty best case studies of research impact in the Excellence in Innovation assessment by the Australian Technology Network of universities and the Group of Eight.
  • The bushfire community safety research based at CRaCS and led by John Handmer was also shortlisted for a 2013 Excellence in Innovation award from the Cooperative Research Centre Association.
  • The centre coordinated a one-day workshop on “Probability of Fire Ignition and Escalation“ in Melbourne on 9 April 2013, attended by over 20 representatives from government agencies and research.
  • The centre hosted a seminar on 12 April 2013 at RMIT University on Fire management in the boreal forest region of Canada: an operations research perspective by Professor David Martell, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
  • CRaCS and the Natural Disaster Management Research Initiative (NDMRI) at the University of Melbourne co-hosted a seminar at RMIT University on Crisis and disaster communication for leaders by Bob Jensen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the US Department of Homeland Security.
  • John Handmer, Briony Towers and Blythe McLennan were invited to present at the ’Regenerating ... People, Place, Prosperity, Preparedness’ conference in April/May 2013 at Kinglake, organised by the Kinglake Resilience Committee.
  • The centre coordinated a one-day workshop on “sharing responsibility for implementing the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience“ in Sydney on 13 March 2013. Over 90 representatives of government agencies, research, and NGOs participated. A written account of the workshop is being prepared and will be released shortly.
  • Briony Towers travelled to the Philippines in February 2013 to conduct an evaluation of Save the Children's child-centred disaster risk reduction programmes in urban Manila and rural Naga.
  • CRaCS made a team submission in January 2013 to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications Inquiry on ’Recent trends in and preparedness for extreme weather events’.
  • James Minas and John Hearne presented at the 5th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress, Portland, Oregon December 3-7, 2012.
  • Adriana Keating and John Handmer presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Fire Economics, Planning, and Policy: Climate Change and Wildfires Mexico City, Mexico November 5-11, 2012.
  • Muhibuddin Usamah completed his doctoral dissertation in late 2012 on the topic of land tenure security and resilience to multiple (natural) disasters in Camalig Municipality, Province of Albay, the Philippines.
  • Completion of the IPCC Special Report on Extremes (2012) and the Summary for Policy Makers. The director of the Centre, Professor John Handmer, is a Coordinating Lead Author for the report and an author of the summary. CRACs members Adriana Keating, Joshua Wittaker and Monique Ladds (formerly of CRaCs) are contributing authors.

Undertake a research degree

Prospective Higher Degree by Research applicants should contact one of our academic or post-doc members to discuss supervision of a research project.

Related research degrees

PhD (Geospatial Sciences)

Master of Science (Geospatial Sciences)

Contact us

For further information, please email a member of the Centre for Risk and Community Safety team, or write to us at:

Centre for Risk and Community Safety
School of Science
GPO Box 2476
Melbourne, VIC 3001

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.