Essays on Buncefield Fire Disaster Case Study

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Buncefield Fire Disaster" is a wonderful example of a case study on management. The Buncefield fire is a stark reminder of the magnitude of damage that can be caused by fire. The incident started early on 11th December 2005. A massive explosion occurred followed by several other explosions at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The fire caused widespread damage to neighboring properties. It engulfed 23 large fuel storage tanks and injured 43 people. Luckily, no one was severely injured and there were no fatalities. However, the extent of the damage was realized on both commercial and residential properties near the Buncefield site.

Nearly 2000 people had to be evacuated from their homes and sections of the M1 motorway were closed. The fire continued for five days and destroyed most of the site, and in addition emitted a large plume of smoke that spread over southern England and beyond (Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, 2006). A number of points can be highlighted from the Buncefield fire incident. First is that the fire occurred at dawn, but still caused extensive damage.

Second is that 43 people were injured, which can be blamed on delays or confusion within the fire department. The third is that the firefighters could not control the fire in time, and hence, it caused damage to neighboring commercial and residential properties and about 2000 people had to be evacuated to safety. The fourth point is that in spite of the efforts to contain the fire, the damage continued for five days. Based on the highlighted background information, this report focuses on the reasons as to why Incident Command System for large scale incidents such as Buncefield needs to be established, and the various levels of command that are needed to deal effectively with large scale incidents.

The report also discusses an appropriate dynamic risk assessment tool that would have been implemented at the scene as well as an effective action plan. It also identifies and evaluates the roles and duties of various public bodies that would have been involved at Buncefield. Finally, the report evaluates the need for effective liaison with media and other agencies during major incidents.

In view of this, the report highlights how information could have been communicated and managed during the incident and puts forward prudent decisions that could have been made during the incident.


City of London (not dated), Civil emergencies - the Civil Contingencies Act, available from (5th July 2010).

Commonwealth of Australia (1998) Guide 1: Multi-Agency Incident Management. Emergency Management Australia, Emergency Management Australia, Melbourne.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (not dated) Incident Command System for Structural Collapse Incidents; ICSSCI-Student Manual, FEMA, New York.

H.M. Fire Service Inspectorate (2006) Fire and Rescue Service Manual, Volume 2, The Stationery Office, London.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (2006) Buncefield: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's Review of the Fire Response, The Stationery Office, London.

HM Government (2005) Emergency response and recovery: Non statutory guidance to complement Emergency Preparedness, Library and information Centre, Easingwold.

HM Government (2008) Fire and Rescue Manual Volume 2, Incident Command, TSO, London.

International Association of Fire Chiefs & National Fire Protection Association (2009) Fire Officer: Principles and Practice (2nd edition), Jones & Bartlett Learning, London.

Moore, T. A & Lakha, R. (2006) Tolley's Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management (3rd edition), Butterworth-Heinemann, London.

NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) (2009) Guidance on multi-agency interoperability, National Policing Improvement Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers, Bedfordshire.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us