Auckland Volcanic Field eruption crisis management decision-making pilot workshop

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 Wild AJ, Lindsay JM, Costello SB, Deligne NI, Doherty A, Leonard GS, Maxwell K, Rollin J, Wilson TM. 2019. Auckland Volcanic Field eruption crisis management decision-making pilot workshop. Lower Hutt (NZ): GNS Science. 44 p. (GNS Science report; 2019/70. doi:10.21420/V1B6-NC43. 


Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with 1.6 million residents. This major metropolitan region is situated upon the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF), posing a considerable risk to the city’s population and essential services. On 17 December 2018, a workshop jointly run by DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland) and Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) was held to discuss evacuation decision-support options in the event of a volcanic crisis in Auckland. The workshop brought together emergency management officials, members of the emergency services, transportation managers, academics and researchers. Participants discussed existing decision-making processes and communication pathways before being presented with how ongoing research could support decision-makers with volcanic crisis planning and management. An exercise was conducted to learn the types of decisions and related information requirements of different groups at different stages of a crisis. The exercise focused on three early stages of an existing AVF eruption crisis scenario centred on Birkenhead: Initial unrest; heightened unrest; and initial eruption phase. Each stage of the scenario was presented to groups along with a series of questions relating to their likely actions based on the information presented. The purpose of the exercise was to learn what type of information would be required at each step, and to identify how ongoing research into a quantitative decision-support framework using cost-benefit analysis could support decision-makers in a future AVF eruption. The exercise revealed that risk to life is a primary consideration for making an evacuation decision; the declaration of a state of emergency is critical before making an evacuation call; key locations and services critical for crisis management exist and can be identified in advance of a crisis; and a staged evacuation would likely be recommended. The findings from this workshop will support ongoing research exploring how hazard and risk information can best be presented to support decision-makers in the event of an evacuation during an AVF event. (auth)