When major fires occur, public health units are involved if the public health may be put at risk.
The purpose of these guidelines is to assist the public health response to major fires. The focus is on industrial fires, but some of the content is also relevant to large scrub or forest fires, such as the 2010 Mt Allan forest fire in Dunedin.
- provide an overview of the types of contaminant that can be released during fires and the information that needs to be collected to inform decisions on sampling and analysis
- include advice on evacuation versus sheltering in relation to fire incidents, health monitoring and communication.
They do not replace hazardous substance incident protocols that have been developed by a public health unit for use in its own region.