State Smoke Framework
State Smoke Framework
November 2016
Version 3.0
State Smoke Framework
The State Smoke Framework for managing significant smoke or emissions has been approved and
endorsed by the following:
Authorised by:
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Craig Lapsley
Professor Charles Guest
Emergency Management Commissioner
Chief Health Officer
Department of Health & Human Services
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Paul Stacchino
Steven Warrington
Acting Chief Officer
Metropolitan Fire and
Emergency Services Board
Chief Officer
Country Fire Authority
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Stephanie Rotorangi
Nial Finegan
Chief Fire Officer
Department of Environment,
Land, Water and Planning
Chief Executive Officer
Environment Protection Authority
November 2016
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State Smoke Framework
Contents
Contents ..................................................................................................................................... 3
Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 4
Purpose of the State Smoke Framework ...................................................................................... 5
Strategic intent of the State Smoke Framework ........................................................................... 5
Governance ................................................................................................................................. 6
Structure of the State Smoke Framework .................................................................................... 7
State Smoke Working Group forward work program .................................................................. 10
Glossary .................................................................................................................................... 11
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State Smoke Framework
Introduction
Background
In March 2014, the Victorian Government established an independent Board of Inquiry to investigate
and report on the circumstances of the Hazelwood Mine fire, the associated emergency response,
and the support provided to affected communities.
The Inquiry produced 18 recommendations for consideration by the State of Victoria, 12 of which
were directed at the State and 6 of which were directed at GDF Suez. One of the State
recommendations identified the need for an integrated state smoke guide to manage the public
health impacts from large-scale, significant and prolonged events that generate smoke and
emissions.
In response to this recommendation, a State Smoke Framework was developed by Emergency
Management Victoria (EMV), the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), the
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), the Country Fire Authority (CFA), the Department of Environment,
Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
This is the third version of the State Smoke Framework (the Framework), a document that will be
continually reviewed and updated to remain linked with other recommendations focussed on the
State’s processes for managing air quality, smoke and emissions from large-scale events.
Standards, guidelines, strategies and tools developed under the Framework will also be regularly
reviewed, including in response to significant or prolonged events that generate smoke or other
emissions.1
Why do we need a State Smoke Framework?
One of the key findings of the Inquiry into the Hazelwood Mine fire was the need for a more
integrated approach to manage the short and long-term risks of smoke and other emissions.
The Framework provides an overarching structure that supports a more collaborative and
coordinated approach to management across government departments, agencies, businesses and
communities. It ensures that the Victorian government and industry are better able to work with
communities before, during and after large-scale, extended and complex events that generate
smoke and other emissions.
The health of first responders is also a key focus of the Framework, including associated standards
and procedures.
Ultimately, the Framework contributes to the creation of confident, safe and resilient communities
that have the information and knowledge to recognise potential hazards and know what to do when
such an event occurs.
What is covered in the Framework?
The State Smoke Framework is a strategy for Victoria that identifies the types of events, tools and
processes that facilitate coordinated planning, decision-making and management of significant or
prolonged events that generate smoke or other emissions.
Events include smoke or emissions from extended bushfires, large-scale planned fuel reduction,
peat fires, landfill and transfer station fires, open-cut coal mine fires, tyre fires, industrial and
hazardous material fires, or emissions from chemical fires and spills.
1
For example, in 2016 a review was conducted of the operational application of the State Smoke Framework to the Somerton refuse
facility fire, which started on 20 November 2015. The review identified that future application of the Framework would be assisted by
finalisation of agency procedures, development of systems to better manage atmospheric monitoring data, provision of training to
emergency responders and incident/emergency management personnel and conducting multi-agency exercises focused on smoke
management.
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State Smoke Framework
Purpose of the State Smoke Framework
The purpose of the Framework and associated planning is to:
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integrate Victoria’s emergency management services and planning across the sector;
respond to community concerns and manage the consequences of large, extended or
complex events, including the public health impacts of exposure to smoke or emissions;
recognise that each extended smoke event is unique, involving different air pollutants that
may pose public health risks and specific community concerns; and
identify potential smoke-related scenarios and the overarching arrangements for managing
the impacts of smoke and other emissions on air quality and community health, particularly
for events occurring close to populations.
The Framework complements and extends the current ‘all communities all emergencies’ approach,
and also supports communication and community engagement activities.
Specifically, the Framework will ensure:
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incident controllers, DHHS and EPA have the most accurate, timely and relevant information
about air quality so that proactive and comprehensive assessments of potential public health
risks associated with events in or near communities can be made;
there are clear triggers for actions during an event for emergency services, agencies (such
as the EPA and DHHS) and the community (including workplaces);
agencies and personnel involved in the response to an incident have the capability
(equipment and technical expertise) to undertake monitoring and produce meaningful data;
public health messages are communicated so they convey clear, action-oriented information;
and
knowledge of different communities informs decisions about the delivery and preparation of
information and monitoring how this is received.
Strategic intent of the State Smoke Framework
The Framework is designed to be consistent with the Emergency Management Manual Victoria
(EMMV), which clearly identifies an incident controller’s uppermost priority as protecting and
preserving life.
This includes the:
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safety of emergency services personnel;
safety of other responding agency personnel;
safety of community members, including vulnerable community members and
visitors/tourists located within the incident area; and
issuing of community information and community warnings.
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State Smoke Framework
Governance
An Interdepartmental Working Group (IDC) oversees and coordinates the Government’s actions to
implement the recommendations and affirmations in the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports. The
IDC has three working groups, one of which is the State Smoke Working Group, as detailed in
Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: State Smoke Framework diagram
State Smoke Working Group
The State Smoke Working Group, co-chaired by DHHS and EMV, oversees and coordinates
implementation of actions and deliverables relating to the State Smoke Framework. The State
Smoke Working Group has representation from AV, the CFA, DELWP, the Department of Premier
and Cabinet, the EPA, the MFB, WorkSafe and Victoria Police.
The strategic priorities of the State Smoke Working Group are to:
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Provide the community with the information they need to take action to protect their health
during significant or prolonged events that generate smoke or other emissions, and in doing
so build knowledgeable and resilient communities.
Build the skills and knowledge of responders to manage significant or prolonged events that
generate smoke or other emissions and to manage safety and wellbeing, while protecting
communities.
Continue to build the capability to monitor air quality during these events to provide the best
possible information to inform agency, industry and community action.
Build the capability to predict the extent and impacts of smoke and other emissions to inform
actions by agencies, industry and communities.
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State Smoke Framework
Structure of the State Smoke Framework
This is the third version of the Framework. It will continue to be informed by events and community
needs and updated as the State develops tools and processes around air quality, smoke and
emissions.
The diagram below represents the structure of the Framework and its components. It shows that a
range of standards, guidelines, strategies and tools can be used for different scenarios (events) that
generate smoke or emissions. These tools are designed to help guide the planning and
management decisions of incident controllers and supporting agencies before, during and after an
event. They also underpin activities that focus on the education and communication needs of
responders and communities seeking direction, information and advice
New protocols, standards and guidelines will continue to be developed, particularly those that
contextualise the risks posed by certain events requiring specific monitoring or analysis.
Victorian State Smoke Framework
Smoke and other emission events
Standards, guidelines & strategies
Tools
Joint Standard Operating Procedures & modelling programs
Decision making and incident management
Education, training and behaviour change
Communication, advice and warnings
Bushfires, planned burns, peat fires, landfill and transfer station fires, coalmine fires,
tyre fires, industrial fires, hazardous chemical fires, major hazardous facility fires,
chemical spills
Outcomes:
Improved community and responder safety and
more resilient communities
Figure 1: State Smoke Framework diagram
November 2016
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State Smoke Framework
Smoke and other emission events
The Framework is focussed on significant or prolonged events that generate smoke or other
emissions that may affect the health of communities. These events may include:
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Bushfires
Planned burns
Peat fires
Landfill and transfer station fires
Coal mine fires
Tyre fires
Industrial fires
Hazardous chemical fires
Major hazardous facility fires
Chemical spills
The Framework recognises that some constituents in smoke, such as fine particles, will be
generated during most fires and will generally be most useful in informing precautionary actions to
protect community health. However different events may generate other constituents, which require
consideration to inform advice. As a result, the Framework is based on a risk assessment and
management approach, which broadly includes:
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Identification of key hazards of concern for the fire or emission event. This may include
for example identification of chemical hazards (such as the products of combustion) or
physical hazards (such as fine particles). Hazard identification is typically based on a review
of the scientific literature and data gathered from previous fire events. Numerous national
and international databases also inform this stage.
Application of relevant air quality values for community and occupational exposure to
constituents in smoke and emissions. Ambient (outdoor) air quality values exist for the air
we breathe under normal day-to-day conditions. Such values are useful to inform pollution
levels generally, however they are generally not applied to significant local emergency
events. Rather, specific air quality values have been established for a range of contaminants
that may be present in air as a result of emergency events, and are designed to protect the
community from one-off or short term exposures. For example first responders work in shifts
where exposure times can be managed, depending on the levels of smoke and other
emissions in the air, they have workforce oversight, they have the opportunity to monitor
personal exposure and have access to personal protective equipment. In comparison, these
management options are not available for the general public. This is why health-based
standards set to protect community health are different to standards set to protect first
responders, also recognising the sensitive sub-populations in the community (such as
children, older people and people with heart or lung conditions).
Implementation of risk management measures. This includes monitoring for hazards of
concern in smoke as a basis for comparing against established air quality values and
providing corresponding advice to the community such as avoiding physical activity,
sheltering indoors, temporarily relocating or evacuating.
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State Smoke Framework
Standards, guidelines and strategies
A number of standards and guidelines have been developed to date under the Framework to guide
assessment and decision-making during smoke events. These include:
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Rapid Deployment of Air Quality Monitoring for Community Health Guideline (December
2015)
Community Smoke, Air Quality and Health Standard (December 2015)
Standard for managing Significant Community Exposures to Carbon Monoxide from Smoke
(July 2015)
In addition to these newly developed standards and guidelines, a number of other guides are linked
to the Framework, to provide support for decision making during outdoor hazardous atmospheres,
including:
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Best Practice Approach to Shelter-in-Place (2011)
Protective Action Decision Guide for Emergency Services during Outdoor Hazardous
Atmospheres
Protective Action Guide for Local Government and Industry during Outdoor Hazardous
Atmospheres.
Further detail on the development of standards and guidelines referenced above is included in the
Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry: Victorian Government Implementation Plan (the Implementation Plan,
June 2016). The Implementation Plan also includes details of the development of related strategies,
including a state-wide approach to detection, analysis and monitoring during significant or prolonged
events that generate smoke or emissions.
Tools
A number of tools have also been developed under the State Smoke Framework to support the
operational implementation of standards and guidelines, and to ensure coordinated actions between
agencies during events that generate smoke and emissions. These include the following Joint
Standard Operating Procedures (JSOPs):
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JSOP 3.18 Incident Deployment of Air Quality Monitoring for Community Health (September
2016)
JSOP 3.19 Managing Significant Community Exposures to Fine Particles from Smoke
(December 2015)
JSOP 3.20 Managing Significant Community Exposures to Carbon Monoxide from Smoke
(December 2015)
Plume modelling tools have also been developed and are linked to the Framework, including an
atmospheric modelling integration tool (ARGOS) to assist first responders in the decision-making
process. This tool provides a more accurate prediction of plume behaviour when compared to the
ALOHA plume modelling tool currently accessed by all areas of fire services.
Further detail on the development of these tools is included in the Implementation Plan.
Decision-making and incident management
The Framework standards, guidelines, strategies and tools will help inform the complex decisionmaking around the management of various events. This includes considering the indirect impacts on
communities not immediately affected by an incident or the results of an incident attack strategy
deployed to resolve the issue.
Education, training and behaviour change
Training tools have also been developed under the Framework to enable agency staff and the
emergency services workforce to understand the purpose of the standards, guidelines and tools, the
value they provide when applied appropriately to different scenarios, and how they are used at an
operational level. Training will continue to be an important ongoing focus to ensure a successful and
coordinated approach to managing events that generate smoke or other emissions and that may
pose risks to first responders and the community.
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State Smoke Framework
Community education activities are also progressively being developed to ensure greater
understanding about the risks from these events, what to look out for and what to do during an
event.
Communication, advice and warnings
The application of the Framework’s standards, guidelines and tools will provide an enhanced
understanding of the impact of incidents on communities and the workforce. It will also help shape
the way information is communicated so that workers and the community clearly understand how to
be safe, prepared and understand what to do before, during and after an incident.
Outcomes
Under the Framework, the community and emergency workforce will be provided with clear,
consistent information, which is based on validated intelligence and data. This will not only help
enhance planning across the sector, but will ensure that communities and first responders are safe
and resilient.
State Smoke Working Group forward work program
In addition to the standards, guidelines and tools detailed above, the State Smoke Working Group
has also developed a number of detailed forward work plans2, under the following four key theme
areas:
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Air Quality and Public Education
Training and safety
Detection, analysis and monitoring
Predictive services
Examples of priority actions under these themes are:
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delivery of a State Smoke Framework community engagement strategy implementation plan
development of an ongoing training plan for Incident Controllers and first responders
including implementation of health monitoring for first responders when attending events that
generate significant smoke or other emissions
the development of a Detection, Analysis and Monitoring Plan for Victoria for smoke
incidents
establishing an information technology and mapping solution to support toxic plume
prediction
The previous versions of the State Smoke Framework contained actions that were primarily as a result of the
Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire Inquiry recommendations and were included in the work plan of the State Smoke Working
Group to ensure agency co-ordination and collaboration on their implementation. The status of the actions was resolved
at a State Smoke Working Group workshop on 12 September 2016 and are formally reported in the Hazelwood Mine
Fire Inquiry: Victorian Government Implementation Plan. The annual Work Plan of the State Smoke Working Group
includes any ongoing or yet to be completed actions relevant to Inquiry recommendations, and other actions considered
by the State Smoke Working Group as important for the ongoing state-wide collaborative effort in planning and
managing the response to events that generate significant smoke or emissions events.
2
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State Smoke Framework
Glossary
ALOHA
Plume modelling tool
ARGOS
Atmospheric plume modelling integration tool
AV
Ambulance Victoria
CFA
Country Fire Authority
DELWP
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
DHHS
Department of Health and Human Services
EMC
Emergency Management Commissioner
EMMV
Emergency Management Manual Victoria
EMV
Emergency Management Victoria
EPA
Environment Protection Authority
MFB
Metropolitan Fire Brigade
November 2016
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