Port Arthur Emergency Management Plan draws international attention

April 7, 2009

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority’s Emergency Management Plan (EMP), which was developed largely as a consequence of the 1996 shootings, was highlighted as a model for such plans at an international conference last week.

Delegates to the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Area Standards Congress met in Hobart, but visited the Historic Site on Friday. As well as providing an enjoyable ‘break-out’ session, the group was here to hear a presentation from Geoff Marsh, Regional Manager South with the State Emergency Service.

Geoff wrote the first draft of the Port Arthur Historic Site’s Emergency Management Plan in 1997. Whilst some modifications have been made, the Emergency Management Plan developed by Geoff is still in use today. As part of his presentation to the conference group, Geoff explained that it was an early attempt to comply with the Standard before national guidelines were released.

The EMP identifies risks, details emergency management strategies and specifies response requirements. The document addresses the majority of risks that are likely to occur at the Historic Site. Meeting organisers felt that the EMP provided an interesting practical example, in particular, in the manner in which it had as its basis an early Australian Standard – AS/NZS 4360 Risk Management Standard.

It was particularly pertinent for the conference group to combine a visit to the historic site with information about how Port Arthur was a forerunner in the development and implementation of a document using a Standard which will soon be accepted internationally. Another speaker said that it was a source of pride to see the success of this influential document within the community, the utilisation of it by business and to soon have it distributed internationally.

Standards Australia conducted the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) in Hobart from 31 March – 2 April 2009. The PASC comprises representatives from 25 member countries standards bodies around the Asia Pacific Region including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, China, Thailand and Columbia.