Emergency Management Teams

Emergency Detection and Response – The Imperative

The threat of terrorist attacks on Australian soil has risen exponentially over the last 5 years with Australia’s involvement in the Middle East, firstly in Iraq and more recently in Syria.

Local ‘cells’ of pro ‘Isis’ and pro ‘Al Qaeda’ activists (two separate and different entities) have spent time recruiting local Middle Eastern, African and Australian youth to both fight in Syria and Iraq (the declared ‘Caliphate’) and to carry out attacks here on Australian soil.

It is now imperative for all Australian authorities (Federal, State and local) to be vigilant with regard to potential bombings, shootings and assaults with deadly weapons (swords, knives, etc).

Large, open-air, mass gatherings which are iconic venues, significant crowds. Music venues also draw large audiences with concerts often utilising such arenas.

The detonation of an explosive device in such a location would be totally devastating with enormous loss of life and dire consequences for any such future event or activity.

In simple terms, detonating an explosive device in such a location is designed to do the following:

  • Injure, maim and kill the maximum number of people in a confined area
  • Produce widespread panic and fear
  • Draw widespread media attention to the proponents cause on a global, national and local scale
  • Harass, weaken and embarrass Government Security Forces
  • Destroy facilities, disrupt communication, create public doubt and low confidence in Government and its ability to protect its citizens
  • Satisfy vengeance, deliver retaliation for perceived wrongs, e.g. Bombings in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq

Australia is no longer immune from such attacks or being an ongoing target for future attacks. Intelligence services do identify potential threats and act quickly to stymy would be terrorists. However there is now a need to have the ability to identify potential threats prior to those determined to carry these threats out gaining entry and access to the major venues mentioned.

AML Risk Management now provide an efficient Detection Service using hand-held Trace Detectors.

These hand-held Explosive Trace Detectors – the DetectaChem SEEKERe's – can detect explosive traces in particulate form on any surface that may have directly or indirectly absorbed explosive residues. The unit provides ‘real time’ analsis and this is the key to a fast, reliable response, providing specific identification and quantifying of any explosive threat detected.

Economic impact of terrorism related incidents

According to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, the cost of terrorism to the world was $52.9 billion in 2014, the highest value since 2001. And a tenfold increase on the same value in 2000.

The cost has been proportionately higher in certain economies as the following examples indicate:

  • In Nigeria, terrorism has caused foreign direct investment to drop by $6.1 billion or 30%
  • Since 2005, terrorism has cost Iraq over $159 billion, or 32% of GDP
  • The total economic costs of the 9/11 attacks has been estimated by the New York Times at a staggering $3.3 trillion dollars

A detailed study on the economic impact of the terror attacks in Paris on Nov 13, 2015 found four distinct economic impacts which are applicable to terrorist attacks in any major Western city

  • The first impact is an immediate and sustained decrease in tourism which typically affects the whole country, not just the area where the incident occurred
  • The second impact is a decline in consumer spending as consumers reduce their exposure to large public spaces in the city such as shops, cafes, restaurants and major sporting events
  • The third impact in the psychological impact on consumers – the threat of terrorism has been shown to have a significant impact on consumer sentiment which results in families delaying major expenditure such as new cars, consumer electronic and holiday
  • The fourth impact is the significant costs and productivity lost through increased security measures including screening and access control to public spaces

A study conducted by economists in the United States found that the economic effects of the publics change in behaviour are 15 times more costly that the immediate damage in the wake of an incident. When surveyed 41% of shoppers would still avoid an area where an incident had occurred and employees would require a 45% increase in wages to return to their jobs. The study also found that increasingly the threat of terrorism (without actual incidents occurring) also had a significant impact on the way people behaved.

In Australia, ASIO has confirmed that security operations have prevented 4 mass casualty attacks since September 2011. Victorian police have similarly conducted numerous raids aimed at disrupting potential attacks, most recently prior to Christmas.

It is also important to consider the cost of ‘false alarms’ or false positives which occur when a full security response is activated in response to a suspicious object or activity which ultimately turns out to be innocent.

In Melbourne these types of incidents have become increasingly common:

  • Aug 30, 2014 - Closure of the Bourke Street mall and surrounding streets following a hoax bomb threat
  • 23 January 2015 – Elizabeth Street in Melbourne’s CBD was evacuated after a bomb threat
  • Nov 17 2015 – Several streets in the Melbourne CBD were closed and buildings evacuated after a suspicious shoebox was abandoned in Collins Street near Southern cross station
  • January 10, 2015 - Closure of Terminal four at Tullamarine airport after a hoax bomb threat
  • November 20 2015- Evacuation and lockdown of Station Pier after the reporting of a suspicious package
  • January 12, 2017 – Evacuation of the Moorabbin justice complex after a bomb threat

In all of these incidents the locations were subject to lengthy lockdowns and / or evacuations

Determining the short term economic impact for these is at one level relatively simple – lost productivity from workers forced to evacuate or locked down and lost retail turnover both during the incident and in subsequent weeks. Whilst this understates the true cost of these ‘false positives’ it provides ample evidence that these events are extremely costly and this cost could have been prevented if a cheaper and quicker way could have been utilised to determine the true risk.

As an example, using our modelling methodology, the 2014 closure of the Bourke Street Mall resulted in retail losses in excess of $200,000 on that day alone. The evacuation of buildings surrounding Southern Cross station in 2015 as the result of the suspicious shoebox resulted in potential productivity losses in excess of $1 million.

Strategic Planning & Risk Division

AML Risk Management advisers are selected for their specialist skills and proven ability to deliver methodologies to give your organisation, event or community peace of mind and realistic end to end solutions in major event planning, crowd science and management, Emergency Management Centre (EMC), crises support, explosive trace detection, active shooter and target hardening and in the development and preparation of Concept of Operations Readiness Plans, Fire Plans and Low Structure Facility Emergency Concepts. Our systems and processes are quality checked and mapped against the ISO 3100 :2009 Risk Management Guidance and Principles, ASNZ 3745 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities , Safety Regulations and the Emergency Management Act.

Emergency Management Team

AML Risk Management’s Control, command and coordination protocols have been aligned to the State Emergency Management manual including the chain of command as the Emergency Management Team and Emergency Response Team take control and activate its critical response strategy with the Incident Controller taking the lead until the Emergency Services arrive for a handover. We then provide a full support function to the emergency management services providing local knowhow and working as directed together to minimise the impact of the emergency to any person, infrastructure, businesses or property.

Emergency Response Team (ERT)

Our business specialises in Emergency Management and Response. Our Emergency Response Team are experts in their chosen field whether it be search and rescue, fire suppression, explosive trace detection, safety, operations or strategic planning under our risk advisers. Our ERT are heavily trained and experienced to take command of any emergency incident.

AML Risk Management provides real industry best practice and sets new standards and only utilises dedicated professionals. AML has the ability to develop realistic strategies and to equip and train for today’s changing circumstances. In addition to the above, the ERT can also provide advice and support on the ground for confined entry, heights rescue, rope rescue and emergency management training.

All AML Risk Management ERT are able to provide and execute:

  • Safe use of Fire Extinguishers, Fire Hose Reels and Fire Blankets
  • Understand the Fire Triangle
  • First Response to any Emergency
  • Ensure raising of the alarm
  • Fire Safety and Evacuation
  • Ensure correct safety procedures are followed

Fire Suppression and Response

AML Risk Management emergency response teams work on-site to assist and develop fire plans and Emergency Management plans. Emergency response teams are already deployed on-site as ERT and are often the first response to any such critical incidents.

All AML Risk Management emergency response teams come from genuine Emergency Management backgrounds including:

  • CFA, MFB
  • SES
  • VicPol
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Armed Forces
  • Private Industry