Emergency Management – It’s not all about earthquakes and bomb threats!

When we think Emergency Management, we tend to think of big dramatic events like bomb threats, fiery volcanoes or tsunami. Sometimes, it’s a lot more commonplace occurrence that creates a life-threatening situation.

The Pacific nation of Vanuatu is preparing to permanently evacuate an entire island as thick ash spewing from a volcano kills crops, dirties water supplies and fouls the air. The government is coordinating the permanent relocation of 10,000 people.

And of course, Kilauea is giving Hawaii a shake-up with lava flows, earthquakes and acid rain. Last week, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake rattled the volcano's main caldera, damaging roads and buildings in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Earlier, ash plumes led to an aviation red alert and raised the threat of acid rain and volcanic smog from the toxic sulfur dioxide gas that spews forth from the earth along with the lava.

Auckland is home to 48 volcanic cones although we prefer to promote them as a tourist attraction, they serve as a visible reminder of the fact that New Zealand lies along the Pacific Rim of Fire. Likewise, Wellingtonians are familiar with the rumble and shudder of small earthquakes and are highly unlikely to forget that our Capital City lies on a major fault-line. 

Rainfall leads to emergency evacuations in Rotorua

In April, New Zealand Civil Defence declared a localised State of Emergency to help emergency services with evacuations in Rotorua after torrential rainfall led to widespread flooding. Although there was video footage of the obligatory kayaker out enjoying the heavily flooded roads, 30 homes were evacuated.  

Gas leaks prompt emergency evacuation procedures 

In January, three people were hospitalised after an ammonia leak at Affco's Whanganui plant was detected by sensors, and once outside were unable to leave the area completely until a supervisor arrived to unlock a gate. Affco has come up with a range of measures since the evacuation and Worksafe NZ has accepted the review of the event.

Then this month, eight people were taken to hospital and 50 more were medically assessed after a gas leak at a building in downtown Auckland led occupants to report vomiting and chest pains. A witness reported that “people staggered out of the building like ‘zombies’ as occupants were being evacuated and it was frightening to watch”.

Events like these are examples of commonplace events that every business should have a plan in place to deal with. 

Talk to our team about creating an Emergency Management plan for your business and be prepared.