Guidelines for developing a response to a volcanic crisis in the Bay of Plenty

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Johnston, D.M.; Scott, B.J.; Houghton, B.F. 1996 Guidelines for developing a response to a volcanic crisis in the Bay of Plenty . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 96/27 23 p.

Abstract: The Bay of Plenty region contains a number of potentially active volcanoes and volcanic centres. Although the probability of an eruption affecting a significant portion of the Region is relatively low in any one year, an eruption will undoubtedly reoccur at some time in the future. The process of developing a response plan for a volcanic crisis is a complex one, with may organisations involved and an extensive range of social, political and financial issues to be considered. The planning process needs to involve consultation with all organisations involved in the management of volcanic hazards in the Bay of Plenty region. A regional volcanic contingency plan must remain simple and flexible, generally focusing on principles rather than specific detail, and should be linked with broader provisions of land-use management contained in regional policy statements and regional/district plans. The Resource Management Act (1991), Civil Defence Act (1983), and the National Civil Defence Plan require regional councils to take the lead role in regional volcanic contingency planning. An effective programme of hazard definition is required to interpret the known volcanic history of the region. Effective response to impending volcanic eruption depends on warning time and therefore it is important that an acceptable level of long-term surveillance of the region's volcanoes is mantained. Roles and responsibilities need to be defined for all responding agencies involved in the management of a regional volcanic crisis. Procedures for responding to changes in scientific alert levels and presenting public warnings need to be developed. Evacuation may be required if a perceived volcanic risk reaches an unacceptable level, therefore methods to warn threatened populations need to be maintained and tested under various conditions. Evacuation planning must be kept up to date and reflect current hazard information, population and land-use patterns. Appropriated public education systems need to be developed for both pre-crisis and crisis periods. (auth)