1.3 Complex Incident Planning: Risk Analysis

Written by David Jardine-Smith. Posted in Philosophy & Focus

Version
3
Date Written
Monday, 10 October 2016
Source
International Maritime Rescue Federation
Type of Paper
  • Guidance Paper
Language
  • English

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Contents

Contents

This paper discusses:

o the need to analyse the risk of a mass rescue operation being required
o risk analysis in general terms (particular analytical tools are not discussed here)
o examples of MRO risks, and their planning implications

1 Overview

1 Overview

1.1 For a general introduction to the IMRF's mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance, please see MRO guidance paper 1.1 'Complex incident planning – the challenge: acknowledging the problem, and mass rescue incident types'.

2 The Need to Analyse the MRO Risk

2 The Need to Analyse the MRO Risk

2.1 Risk analysis is a necessary part of the planning process, especially when planning for complex incidents. Mass rescue operations are a sub-set of the complex incident type – a category of emergency which requires thinking, planning, training and response beyond what is normally expected. This will inevitably require some inter-agency planning.

2.2 MROs are in the ‘low likelihood but high consequence’ group of emergencies. Given the potential impact, the risk remains considerable and we must prepare for such events. They are rare, almost by definition: if they were not, we might expect the response organisations to be able to deal with them as a part of their routine operations. The likelihood of a particular MRO occurring – a cruise ship overturning, an airliner ditching, etc – is low. But the consequences of such an accident, with large numbers of persons in distress, are high. It follows that MROs have to be planned for; and, because of the low likelihood of a particular event occurring, it also follows that such planning should be generic in nature.

3 MRO Risk Analysis

3 MRO Risk Analysis

3.1 Planners will have various risk analysis tools available to them. It is not the purpose of this introductory paper to propose particular tools or methods. Examples may be found in the supporting literature, and general guidance is available in the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, Volume I appendix L. Here we will consider only the initial stages of the analysis process.

3.2 It is important to remember that a maritime mass rescue operation may result from a number of different causes. We are not only considering passenger ship accidents, for example. The effects are more important than the cause. MROs are such that, whatever their cause, there are aspects of the response which will be similar or the same – the recovery of people, their landing and care at places of safety, etc – and planning can and should be generic as a result.

3.3 That said, analysis will tend to show that there are areas of slightly enhanced risk. Passenger ship accidents are more likely to occur on a busy ferry route where there is crossing traffic, for example; and airports whose runways end at or near the sea are more likely to see a ditching incident. Some areas present special risks: the cruise trade in areas remote from SAR facilities, for example (see guidance paper 2.8); or places where seasonal flooding is a known hazard.

3.4 Such analyses of enhanced risk should result in enhanced planning. On a ferry route it makes obvious sense to include the ferry operators in the planning, training and exercise phases. Not only are their ships a possible source of a mass rescue operation, they are also a major potential SAR resource, helping to fill the MRO 'capability gap'. Similarly, port authorities should be involved in maritime MRO planning in their locality, as should seaside airport authorities and offshore industries. So should response organisations in areas known to be prone to natural disaster. The cruise industry must play a major part in planning for accidents in remote areas their ships visit; and so on.

3.5 The MRO 'capability gap' is a very important factor: see guidance paper 1.4. Mapping available SAR facilities is an essential part of the risk analysis process.

3.6 An MRO may occur anywhere. SAR authorities – 'SAR Coordinators', as defined in the IAMSAR Manual – should initiate generic response planning if it is not already being done. Particular risks should be identified in the risk analysis stage of such planning, and, if possible, specific resources and responses should be identified too and incorporated in the MRO plans.

4 Summary

4 Summary

o Risk analysis is a necessary part of the planning process.
o Planners should select suitable risk analysis tools from the wide range available to them.
o MROs are ‘low likelihood, high consequence’. Given the potential impact, the risk remains considerable and we must prepare for it.
o MROs may have many causes, but tend to have common effects.
o Risk analyses are likely to show geographical areas of enhanced risk, and areas of enhanced or reduced response capability.
o Mapping available SAR facilities is an essential part of the risk analysis process.

5 Further Reading

5 Further Reading

5.1 For further reading on the underpinning philosophy of complex incident planning, and for other resources under this heading, follow this link.

5.2 For specific guidance on risk analysis see the IAMSAR Manual Volume I appendix L. See also guidance paper 2.1.

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