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The relationship between the type of emergency and the response

With differing types and scales of emergencies, what are the similarities and differences in preparing and planning an adequate response?

Investigate the following three case studies:

Case study 1: The Buncefield incident

This was an explosion at a UK hydrocarbon facility in 2005 that caused extensive damage.

Watch this video and read the associated article ‘Buncefield explosion: ‘I thought a plane landed on us’ (BBC 2015) available from the BBC News website. This includes some recordings of the initial public phone calls and it documents the size of the disaster and the resources required to bring the blaze under control.

Case study 2: BP Deepwater Horizon

This was a failure of a deep-water drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that caused the death of a number of workers as well as a widespread pollution incident.

Read ‘Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire leaves 11 missing’ (Guardian 2010) available from the Guardian website. This was written after the initial events and explores some of the long-term issues.

Case study 3: California bush fires

These fires in 2017 caused loss of life and significant damage to property in California, USA.

Read the article and watch events unfold: ‘California wildfires have destroyed 1,000 structures … and counting’ (Yan, Simon and Vercammen 2017) available from the CNN website. The article also captures some of the societal impacts.

Your task

Carry out your own research into these incidents. The focus of your research should be to look at how the planning and preparation for the different emergencies should be managed, given their type and scale.

How does the planning of the responses to these emergencies differ and what are the reasons for these differences?


British Broadcasting Corporation (2015) Buncefield explosion: ‘I thought a plane landed on us’ [online] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-34919922 [09 May 2018]

The Guardian (2010) Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire leaves 11 missing [online] available from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/21/deepwater-horizon-oil-rig-fire [09 May 2018]

Yan. H., Simon. D., and Vercammen P. (2017) ‘California wildfires have destroyed 1,000 structures…and counting’. CNN [online] available from https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/11/us/california-wildfires/index.html [09 May 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Coventry University