Whakapapa Ski Field, lahar warning system, Ruapehu : a review of training issues

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Ward, R.; Paton, D.; Johnston, D.M.; Becker, J.S. 2003 Whakapapa Ski Field, lahar warning system, Ruapehu : a review of training issues . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 2003/07 24 p.

Abstract: This report outlines areas of training and education that need to be addressed by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) to increase public safety in the event of a lahar at Ruapehu skifields. It follows from some recommendations made in the Galley et al (2003) report. Existing training and training tools relating to lahars are outlined, showing that the current level of education in this area is low. Only a small part of training is dedicated to this, and staff only receive this education in their first year – returning staff receive no training. The roles of RAL staff are defined, not only during the lahar, but also before and after any event. From this, specific training needs are outlined. These show a need for a general lahar education for all staff. This is important both so that staff have an accurate and complete knowledge of lahars, and also to ensure that all staff share the same mental model about lahar response. The most effective way to do this is by an integrated lecture and video, that all staff attend. Training for ski patrol and lift operators is described, and includes role-specific information (including the action plans from the DoC Eruption Response Plan), possible customer reactions, and possible personal reactions. These groups will also be involved in a simulation. This will allow them to put into practice what they have learnt about their roles in earlier sessions and highlight for them any areas that may cause problems in a real event. A simulation under ‘perfect’ conditions should be run initially to show a minimum time for response. After this, conditions may be varied to show how these can affect the lahar response. A simulation may also serve as a means of evaluating training, as it will highlight any areas where staff response is inadequate. Training can be reviewed in light of this. Training for Customer Services staff and all other staff is also outlined. It includes role-specific information and information about likely public response. Role-playing opportunities will be incorporated to practice dealing with anxious or angry public. Evaluation of the training is explained, and will occur on a number of levels. A first step is to gauge how relevant staff feel the training was. This is important as if training does not seem relevant, they are likely to ignore it. As mentioned, simulations can also play a part in this evaluation by both evaluating staff performance and transfer of training, and comparing the results with those of previous years. A paper-and-pencil knowledge test would also allow assessment of learning. If used part-way through the season it will also evaluate retention of that knowledge. Customer education is also discussed, as this is another way to ensure public safety on Ruapehu. Suggestions about the content of education messages (e.g. what a lahar is, how it is a threat, how to avoid them, and the location of safe/high risk areas) as well as means of communicating these messages (e.g. multiple channels, a ccurate, specific, credible, and sufficient) are also made. Evaluation of this education can be achieved through customer surveys similar to that carried out in 2000 (see Galley et al. 2003). The DoC Eruption Response Plan is briefly reviewed. The DoC plan contains a number of specific details that need to be constantly reviewed such as lists of people who will be given responsibility for certain roles in an eruption event. If people were to leave, or their roles in their organization were to change, the DoC plan would also need to be amended. Suggestions for a RAL response plan are included, such as planning for dealing with the public and staff after an event. (auth)