The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has completed a five yearly review of the State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT.

The DFES State Emergency Management Policy Branch is now seeking broad stakeholder feedback on the proposed amendments and welcomes other questions, queries or comments you have in relation to this Plan.

Agencies with roles and responsibilities within the State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT and the HAZMAT Coordinating Committee (HCC) were consulted during the initial review of the plan.

The draft State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT provides an overview of arrangements for the management of the actual or impending release or escape of a chemical, radiological or other substance that is capable of causing loss of life, injury to a person, or damage to the health of a person or the environment in Western Australia. The Plan contains information on prevention, preparedness, response and initial recovery.

For the purposes of this Plan, the term HAZMAT emergencies is used to encompass emergencies arising from the release or escape of a chemical, radiological or other substance that requires a significant and coordinated response.

The FES Commissioner is the Hazard Management Agency for the hazards of actual or impending spillage, release or escape of a chemical, radiological or other substance that is capable of causing loss of life, injury to a person or damage to the health of a person, property or the environment.

Consultation was open for 8 weeks from 17 November 2023 to 12 January 2024.

Summary of Amendments

Change of Plan title from State Hazard Plan - Hazardous Materials Emergencies (HAZMAT) to State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT.

This State Hazard Plan is commonly abbreviated within the suite of EM documents to State Hazard Plan – HAZMAT.

Removing the term ‘hazardous materials’ from the title of the State Hazard Plan has been proposed to reduce confusion between the definition of a ‘hazardous substance’ within the Emergency Management Act 2005 and the definition of ‘hazardous materials’ within the Fire Brigades Act 1942.

Hostile Act

This review reflects a hostile act being prescribed as a hazard in March 2020.

Included in the Emergency Management Regulations 2006 definition of a hostile act is:

‘an event or situation in which an explosive substance or hazardous substance is used to cause:

  • loss of life, prejudice to the safety, or harm to the health, of persons or animals; or
  • unlawful destruction of, or damage to, property or any part of the environment’.

(See EM Regulations 14a (2) for full definition or refer to Appendix B of this State Hazard Plan).

This comprehensive review has resulted in the removal of arrangements for a chemical, biological and radiation (CBR) emergency from the draft State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT. The current plan describes a CBR emergency as a ‘hostile act or event, the intention of which is to kill, maim, sicken or prevent society from continuing with normal daily business’.

The draft State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT retains reference to arrangements between DFES and WA Police Force where the response includes multiple hazards (eg a HAZMAT emergency and hostile act).

The arrangements for the deliberate use of a hazardous substance for a hostile act (as defined in the EM Regulations) are to be included in the SHP – Hostile Act. DFES will continue to provide a HAZMAT (chemical, radiological or other substance) capability to hostile act incidents managed by the WA Police Force.

Removal of Annex A (Radiation Escape from a Nuclear Powered Warship and Annex B (Space Re-entry Debris) as annexes from this Plan

The WA Police Force is the HMA for the hazards of Radiation Escape from a Nuclear Powered Warship and Space Re-entry Debris. The arrangements within these Annexes and review schedules are separate to a HAZMAT emergency and are maintained by the WA Police.

It is proposed that the current annexes contained within State Hazard Plan HAZMAT are to become stand-alone State Hazard Plans. The WA Police Force will remain as the responsible agency for the development, maintenance and review of these plans.

Note: This proposed amendment was not accepted for progression during this revision of the State Hazard Plan - HAZMAT. More consultation will occur via the SEMC Response Policy Subcommittee.
Removal of Appendix G (Notification), Appendix H (HAZMAT/CBR Handover Briefing) and Appendix I (HAZMAT Response Functions by Agency)
  • The information provided in Appendix G and Appendix H is provided within operational procedures.
  • The information within Appendix I is detailed within the roles and responsibilities section of this State Hazard Plan.
Additional roles and responsibilities
  • Prevention, preparedness and recovery roles added to Appendix C.
  • Inclusion of roles and responsibilities relevant to a HAZMAT emergency previously outlined in Appendix D added to Appendix C.

Statement of fact amendments
  • Accessibility redesign
  • Updating agency names
  • Updating related legislation, regulation and other documents
  • Removal of duplication with other State Emergency Management documents.
  • Other amendments to simplify language and improve readability.

Please note: Due to the extent of amendments in this draft SHP, a copy of the Plan with a markup of changes has not been provided.