The incidence of freak weather and geological events, such as earth-quakes and volcanic eruptions, has increased over the past 30 years. Coupled with an increase in the populations located in the path of these natural disasters, the imminent danger posed by naturally occurring phenomena has also risen. Given the potential dangers, it is wise for policy administrators to ensure that appropriate emergency plans are in place that aim to minimize the negative consequences associated with these disasters. Effective emergency planning and management should successfully combine the skills and knowledge of law enforcement agencies and transport planners as well as the knowledge and skills of emergency planning professionals. In Australia, there has not been a thorough investigation of the emergency impacts on the transport infrastructure nor have emergency plans adequately integrated the transportation aspect. Which transport routes evacuees and emergency vehicles should use is a question that needs to be answered urgently to avoid situations where evacuees are trapped in their vehicles; in which emergency personnel are unable to gain access to the people in need; and in which emergency vehicles are not able to get onto the road network due to traffic congestion. Thus, in a case of a suburban bushfire (wildfire), a fire that may have been easily extinguished or controlled is left to engulf more bushland and increase in ferocity. The many emergency evacuation models developed are critically assessed, and the important information required to devise the models is described. It is clear, however, that more research needs to be undertaken to investigate specifically the effects of a mass evacuation on current transport networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering