By Childs, I.R.W.,, Hastings, PA [School of Humanities and Human Services, QUT Carseldine, Beams Rd, Carseldine 4034] Carlisle, R.D [Chemical Hazards and Emergency Management (CHEM) Unit, Department of Emergency Services (Queensland)] and Powell, N.[F.I.Fire.]
Counter Disaster personnel stationed along the Brisbane to Gladstone road-rail corridor took part in focus groups aimed at eliciting their perceptions of the hazards associated with the bulk transport of dangerous goods that occurs along this route. Six groups, each representing a Disaster District, discussed their responses to a major road accident scenario on a local stretch of the Bruce Highway involving two fuel- carrying tankers and a resulting explosion (BLEVE). That is, a low probability, but high-impact and rapid-onset hazard. A wide range of perceptions and responses to the scenario was noted both within groups and between groups, reflecting differing hazard and risk perceptions, resource availability and mobility, and other geographical factors, Initial management of the hazard, establishing safe zones, effecting evacuation, managing traffic and dealing with casualties were all variously raised as challenges to the emergency services personnel and the frameworks of coordination and response under which they operate. Some settlements along this transport corridor were identified as being notably vulnerable to a dangerous goods accident because of their proximity to the highway, and the relative inaccessibility of the resources needed to cope with such an event.