19 Feb 2014

Disaster expert warns Pacific to avoid generic emergency plans

2:51 pm on 19 February 2014

A disaster preparedness expert says Pacific businesses and communities cannot afford to rely on generic emergency plans when disaster strikes.

Graham Nel is part of a New Zealand-based team that provides workshops in the Pacific to businesses and other groups about how to best prepare for disaster.

Mr Nel, who specialises in earthquake safety, says it is crucial that businesses identify the hazards specific to their location.

"Most businesses do have a general disaster plan which usually revolves around a fire evacuation plan, a good example there would be coastal resorts. In the case of an emergency or earthquake people resort to their fire evacuation plan - generally that means they are assembling outside the building but that assembly point is usually in a tsunami zone."

Graham Nel says resorts have a duty of care to their guests and it's critical they have people trained to lead guests to safety.

He says it's hoped business owners and staff pass on what they learn to their communities and families.