Emergency management risks

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The City of Swan is committed to safeguarding our community, economy and environment from a number of hazards. The City’s role during an emergency will vary depending on the type of hazard being addressed.

Under the Emergency Management Act 2005, hazards are managed through carefully considered State Hazard Plans (Westplans) that delegates roles and responsibilities, including to Local Governments. The City of Swan may have roles and responsibilities in prevention, preparedness, response or recovery activities for any given hazard. The below summarises who is the leading authority for each of the 28 prescribed hazards.

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In 2019 City of Swan in partnership with the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) conducted a review of the risks posed to our community by these 28 hazards. The City of Swan identified the following hazards as posing the greatest risk to our local government area:

Bushfire

The vast majority of bushfires are extinguished by our volunteer brigades and career fire fighters before they can escalate into major bushfires. On occasion, however, bushfires can intensify very rapidly threatening lives, property and the natural environment. A number of studies indicate that, due to a changing climate, fire seasons are becoming longer and that dangerous fire weather is more frequent, resulting in more intense bushfires. In February 2021 the Wooroloo Bushfire resulted in the loss of 86 residential structures, power infrastructure, animal lives, road infrastructure and impacts to a numerous natural assets across the City of Swan and the Shire of Mundaring.

For further information: https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfire/

Hazmat

The term HAZMAT is an acronym for hazardous materials. A hazardous materials incident means an actual or impending spillage or other escape of a hazardous material that causes or threatens to cause injury or death, or damage to property or the environment. The primary threat to our community is the release of hazardous substances as a result of industrial fires including the smoke that can be blown over built up areas.  In addition to smoke, particles including asbestos and other contaminants may be carried in the smoke and deposited over a wide area. Hazardous substances can find their way into local drainage systems and into wetlands via response mechanisms such as fire-fighting.

For further information: https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/hazardousmaterials/Pages/default.aspx

Heatwave

A heatwave is a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot weather that is unusual for the location and could impact on human health, infrastructure and services. For Perth, the trigger to declare a heatwave is three or more consecutive days when the forecast minimum and maximum temperatures average at least 32C.

Heatwaves are more fatal (particularly for those considered vulnerable in our community) than any other natural hazard experienced in Australia. The number of deaths as a direct result of heatwaves is projected to increase as heatwaves become an increasingly common occurrence due to our changing climate.

For more information: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Heatwave

Storm

Western Australia has a history of being impacted by severe storms. These storms have caused damage from lightning, wind, rain, hail, flash flooding, severe sea conditions, storm surge flooding and coastal erosion. Severe storms can occur at any time of the year, but tend to follow two distinct patterns, one for the warm season (generally October to April) and one for the cool season (generally May to September). Severe storms can produce wind gusts of 90 km/h or more, heavy rain and flooding, damaging hail and localised tornadoes.

Storms will impact on residential, commercial, industrial and service sectors of our community. They disrupt lifelines, burden emergency services with an increased work load and can cause injury and death.

For further information: https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/storm/Pages/default.aspx

Flood

In WA, flooding can be caused by a number of different mechanisms including heavy rainfall, storm surge, tsunamis and failure of engineered structures. The most common and significant threats to the social and economic well-being of flood prone communities arise from heavy rainfall and storm surges. Flood events due to natural causes will primarily reflect natural climate variability but the magnitude of such events over the longer term is predicted to increase.

For more information: https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/flood/Pages/default.aspx

Air Crash

A crash emergency is a collision or imminent collision of a vehicle with a structure, terrain, water, vehicle or other thing and is of such a nature or magnitude that it requires a significant and coordinated response. A portion of the Perth Airport falls within the City of Swan and an air crash is an emergency that must be considered due to the potential consequences to our community.

Regarding pandemics (eg. COVID-19)

Local Governments do not have a direct combat role during a human pandemic. Their role is limited to provide support and implementation of State and Federal government’s directive.