Emergency response plans

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Emergency Response Plans

Does your business deal with large quantities of hazardous substances?

Hazardous substances include any things that are:

  • Explosive
  • Flammable
  • Oxidising
  • Toxic
  • Corrosive
  • Harmful to the environment

You should be managing the risks on your site to avoid an emergency. And you must have an emergency response plan (ERP) in case something does happen.

For full details on what an ERP is and what you must include in it, see Worksafe New Zealand – Emergency Plans.

Trigger quantities decide what you must do

A ‘trigger quantity’ is a specific amount of hazardous substance of a particular type or classification. When your site stores or uses more than those amounts, the regulations start applying to you.

If your site has…

as listed in the…

then…

more than the trigger quantity of a hazardous substance

Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

you must have an emergency response plan (ERP) for the site.

large quantities of hazardous substances

Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2016

your site may be a major hazard facility (MHF), and your ERP has some extra requirements.

Site operator must prepare the emergency response plan

Preparing the ERP is the responsibility of the operator of the location (the ‘site’) with the hazardous substances.

You may need to consult with us on your emergency response plan

When you develop your ERP, both the site operator and Fire and Emergency NZ need to understand what we each can and will do, if an emergency happens at the site.

If your site is…

and you…

then you…

a major hazard facility (MHF)

are preparing the site’s ERP

must consult with us.

not an MHF, but needs an ERP

include a role for us in your ERP

must give us the chance to review and comment on it.

Your planning helps us to plan how to help you. When you prepare your ERP, if you include all the right details from the start, we can review and comment on it much faster – and it’s likely to be a more solid plan.

For the list of the details we look at, see our Emergency response plan preparation guide.

Note: We do not ‘approve’ or ‘accept’ your ERP. Our role is limited to reviewing it and giving you feedback.

Two ways to send us your emergency response plan

Use one of these options to submit your ERP to us, as part of consultation or for comment.

Send us your ERP electronically (by email)

  1. Check your ERP against our Emergency response plan preparation guide, to make sure you’ve included all the critical details.
  2. Complete an Emergency plan review request form, which requests our review or consultation.
  3. Create an email to FireInfoUnit@fireandemergency.nz. Attach the request and your ERP, and send.
    (Our Fire Information Unit sends your request to staff in your Fire Area, who review your ERP and contact you with feedback or any questions.)

Send us your ERP on paper (by post)

  1. Check your ERP against our Emergency response plan preparation guide, to make sure you’ve included all the critical details.
  2. Complete an Emergency plan review request form, which requests our review or consultation.
  3. Create an email to FireInfoUnit@fireandemergency.nz. Attach the request, and send.
    (Our Fire Information Unit works out which Fire Area will review your ERP, and sends you instructions on where to post your ERP.)
  4. Send your ERP using the Fire Information Unit’s instructions.
    (The Fire Area staff review your ERP, and contact you with feedback or any questions.)

Our response about your emergency response plan

We try to give feedback promptly, but we do receive a lot of ERPs, so it can take time.

In our reviews, we look at what your ERP proposes we will do in an emergency – our role in your plan. Generally, we aim to confirm that:

  • What your ERP proposes we will do is:
    • Achievable
    • Consistent with our operational policies.
  • We know about anything in your ERP or at your site that could affect our ability to respond safely and effectively.

When we come back to you, we may:

  • Offer advice about how to improve relevant sections
  • Make specific recommendations
  • Ask you for more information
  • Ask to visit the site and meet with the operator.

Keeping records after our review

Once you have finalised your site’s ERP, we suggest you keep a copy of all your correspondence with us about it. Your compliance certifier (test certifier) may ask to see it, as proof that you are complying with the regulations.

We keep a copy of your latest ERP, and use it to help plan how we’ll respond to incidents on your site. We store our copy of it securely.

  • All information we hold is subject to the Official Information Act 1982. If we receive any request for information that includes your plan, we will let you know.
  • Any personal details in your plan are covered by the Privacy Act 1993. We will deal with those details as that act requires.