At its meeting on 9 November 2000, the CICCC agreed on a series of steps to provide better information to the community on emergency situations. By its next meeting, the CICCC will write a simple message about what everyone in the community should do if an emergency occurs, and how industries in the area will communicate with the community (via 3WRB) if there is an incident or false alarm. Next we will involve all stakeholders (community representatives, Council officers, Emergency Services authorities and industry) in commenting on and refining this simple message, and getting it widely accepted. Future steps will include an advertising campaign, and trials and drills.
Members of the CICCC who attended the Emergency Exercise held on 18 October at Coode Island reported that it had been successful. The emergency scenario involved a spill of benzene from a ship unloading at No1 Maribyrnong Wharf at Coode Island. The exercise provided an opportunity for a wide range of responsible authorities to test their readiness and coordination. While there were some glitches, these were fundamental to improving the existing arrangements.
The Health, Safety and Environment Sub-Committee gave the CICCC a list of about a dozen possible ‘worst case scenarios’ of potential accidents at Coode Island. The Committee adopted four of these as representing the most serious incidents which might possibly happen. They are a cloud of toxic vapour resulting from a bund fire at Coode Island, a cloud of unburnt toxic gas coming from a spill on site, a spill or fire on a ship at Maribyrnong No 1 Wharf, and a truck carrying acrylonitrile being involved in a major accident in a residential street. The Committee has asked for further detail to be added to these four scenarios, which will then be referred to an independent reviewer to advise on the consequences for the community of these disaster scenarios.
Michael Isaachsen is a local Footscray resident who has attended most meetings of the Committee over the last year, and contributed to the debate and development of issues. Michael was formally appointed as a community representative on the Committee.
The next CICCC meeting will be held on Thursday 14 December 2000. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 7.30 pm. Items on the agenda include the EPA decision on Terminals’ upgrade plans, further work on Emergency communication, and a review of the Committee’s future directions.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 15 November 2000