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Risk Management Plan for a Resort

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									  Risk Assessment and Crisis Management for a
Winter Tourist Resort (St.Anton a/A, Tyrol, Austria)
                  - A Case Study
                                              Rudolf Sailer
                        Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research
                  Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna

St.Anton a/A is a small mountain village with aproximately 2.500 inhabitants, situated 100
km in the West of Innsbruck at the boarder between Vorarlberg and Tyrol (Austria). During
the winter-season the number of people living in St.Anton increases up to 12.000. The
overnight stays per year have increased from about 32.000 in 1947 to about 1 million in 2000.
The intense touristic development necessitate the investigation of a so called "Integrated Risk
and Crisis Management Plan (IKMP)". The aim is to supply a helpful tool to the decision
makers of the community in any case of crisis handling. The core of the IKMP is the
combination of practical needs with the most modern prognosis and simulation technologies
in terms of natural hazard assessment and management. This is accomplished by Geographic
Information Systems and leads to an immediate understanding of complex situations and a
prompt reactions to this, if necessary. In summary, the IKMP is a method to generate the
structure and organisation of the community of St.Anton a/A related to risk and crisis
management considering the most modern computer technologies.

I. Introduction
After the winter 1999 with its extreme events the Community of St.Anton a/A decided
together with the Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research (Federal Office and
Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna, Austria) to investigate an Integrated Risk
and Crisis Management Plan. There are several reasons to do this. As shown in the following
chaptures during the high season St.Anton a/A is a very croweded tourist resort. On the other
side - and the good snow conditions are also a result of this - heavy snowfalls may occure. In
generally this is, with respect to the extended control measuers, not problematic. The Austrian
Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control (Gebietsbauleitung Oberes Inntal) spent about 17
Mio. Euro (approx. 14 Mio. US-Dollar) sinc 1988. The first measures where build in the year
1969. After that a Hazard Zone Map was created in 1979. On the base of this Hazard Zone
Map the intense construction of measures started. Previous to the Alpine Ski Championship
2001 accomplished in St.Anton a/A the measures control reached its peak by creating
approximately 3.000 meters snowpack-stabalizing structures and a catching dam with a
earthmoving of about 140.000 cubicmeters within the least three years.

In addition to this permanent measures the local government decided to initialize temporary
measures to deliver tools to the decicionmakers. All this tools will be summarized in the so
called Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan. This paper will show the development of
St.Anton a/A as a worldwide known tourist resort (cf. chapter I.1.). Then, in chapter I.2. an
overview of the total concept of the Risk and Crisis management Plan will be given.
Subsequent to the introduction to the touristical history of St.Anton a/A and the overview of
the Risk and Crisis Managment Plan two examples will follow. In chapter II. it is

demonstrated how GIS can be used to interprete and analyse results of external numerical
simulation models. In the following example (chapter III.) an overview of the organisational
structure - related to crisis management - in the municipality of St.Anton a/A is given. This
structure was built up before the Alpine Ski Championship in February 2001 were held and
was helpful at all stages of decisionmaking during the event. The application of different
standard GIS operations (spatial query, thematic query) in risk and crisis management is
shown in chapter III.2. with examples of roadblocks and evacuations related to avalanche

I. 1. History and Statistics

The municipality of St.Anton a/A was funded previous to the 13th century and had several
names. The new name St.Anton a/A was established in the year 1929. Due to the high altitude
(1300 - 1580 m) in former times (pre winter tourism epoch) the village remained small with
less than 1000 inhabitants. Until the end of the 19th century the main subsistence was earned
by farming and traffic facilities. With the establishment of a railway connection between
Innsbruck in the East and Bregenz in the West by tunnel under the Arlberg (in 1884) a
constant development of the number of inhabitants, buildings, tourist beds and overnight
stands occured. Until now specifically the number of overnight stands and tourist beds
increased rapidly and constant (cf. Figure 1).

                                                     Figure 2: Overnight stands and Visitors in the year
Figure 1: Developement of St.Anton a/A 1896 - 1999   2000

The last years the overnight stands per year are close to 1 Mio. St.Anton a/A is mainly a
winter tourist resort with the greatest amount of overnight stands in January, February and
March with sligthly above 200.000 overnight stands and approximately 30.000 Visitors per
month. During the low season in spring with May and June and the low season in autumn
with September, October and November there are only a few tourist visiting St.Anton a/A.
Also in summermonths July and August the number of tourists visiting the village and its
interesting and beautiful surrounding is only a small part compared with the winter season.

I. 2. Overview to the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan

The entire Risk and Crisis Management Plan is divided in two main parts. i) The Risk
management with the tasks of Riskhandling and Planning of Measures is subdivided in the
two functional groups Riskanalyse and Riskassessment. ii) The Crisis management itself is
subdivided in the functional groups Crisisprecausion and Crisishandling. There is a clear
border between this functional groups. This is clearly marked by the happening of a disaster
or catastrophic event.

Figure 3: Concept of the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan

One aim of the project is to implement the latest Simulation and Prognosis technologies to
both parts - Risk management and Crisis management - of the entire plan. In terms of
Riskanalyse a high developed numerical avalanche simulation model - SAMOS - is used to
calculate scenarios and to create Scenario Hazard Maps. This Scenario Hazard Maps are a
input parameter to assess risk and to analyse the cost-value ratio. In Crisisprecausion too, the
most modern Technologies are implemented in the system of managing extraordinary
situations. One example is shown below anonther example is the inclusion of Automatic
Weather Stations with a completely energy balance station. Both are used to get information
of the situation in the release areas of potential avalanche areas and deliver a lot of
parameters. One of the most important parameters for the decisionmakers is the snow depth.
Up to now snow depth measurements are related to one or only a couple of points. With the
new develeoped Laserscanner the snow distribution of an entire area can be gained. These are
only a few examples of a complex system to make decisions (diagnosis) and to come to an
early recognition and an early warning system. A modern Crisis management is mainly
related to a working communication and information technology. Of course the most modern

management and information technologies will be implemented in the Crisis Management

The legal aspects of the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan are:

   i.   Katastrophenhilfsdienstgesetz 1974 (i.e. Disaster Assistant Law)
  ii.   Lawinenkommissionsgesetz 1992 (i.e. Avalanche Commission Law)
 iii.   Geschäftsordung der Lawinenkommission (i.e. Agenda of the local Avalanche

I. 3. Necessity of a Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan

As mentioned above, St.Anton a/A is a high developed winter sport resort with nearly 1 Mio.
overnight stands a year. It is already mentioned that January, February and March are the
busiest months. But, these are also the months with the highest probability of avalanches. The
maximum amount of coincidense probability between Tourist Seasonality and Exposure to
Avalanches is reached (cf. Figure 4).

Figure 4: Coincidence probability

As shown in Map of Settlement in Hazard Zones and Figure 5 a) and b) the number of
buildings in the Yellow and Red Zones of the Hazard Map remains constant since the
implementation of the Hazard Zone Map in 1979, although it would be legaly correct to build
under legal restraints in the Yellow Zone, and although the settlment area is one of the
limiting factors of St.Anton a/A. It seems to be a fact that the implementation of a Hazard
Map is an appropriate tool to control settlement in endangered mountain areas.

Figure 5 a) and b): Developement of the Settlement Area in the Hazard Zones (Figures refer
only to the central part of St.Anton a/A)

Even, as mentioned in the Introduction, the Austrian Avalanche and Torrent Control did a lot
of measures in and arrount the municipality of St.Anton a/A the community of St.Anton a/A
decided to implement a Integrated Risk and Crisis Managment Plan. This is mainly a result of
the really intense touristic developement combined with the potential natural hazard risks.
During the high season in avarage approximately 5.500 visitors are daily in the village.
Additionaly to the nearly 4.000 to 5.000 inhabitants and employees in the absolute high
season the total number of people living in the area reaches up to 13.000 to 15.000. Following
this numbers and the fact that St.Anton a/A is situated in a distinctive mountainuous area a
risk and crisis management plan as proposed by the author seems to be a reliable tool in
managing natural hazards.

II. Risk assessment: Scenarios and Versioning

Figure 6: Extremum statistics of snow fall of the period from 1895 to 2000

A central technique in the analyse of risk due to natural hazards is the processing of scenarios.
With respect to snow avalanches the scenario processing is strictly realated to simulation
models. In Austria the developement of a threedimensional avalanche simulation model based
on fundamental fluid mechanics was done by AVL List, Graz in cooperation with the
Austrian Instiute for Avalanche and Torrent Research and the Austrian Service for Torrent
and Avalanche Control. SAMOS (Snow Avalanche MOdelling and Simulation) is a
physically based model that couples a 2D granular flow model for the dense flow layer and a
3D turbulent flow model for the powder layer with a simple transition model (Sampl et al.
2000). In the year 2000 an entrainment module was added to SAMOS to calculate avalanches
that work in the snow layer along the track (Sailer and Rammer 2001).

With regard to the scenario calculation with SAMOS the main information is gained from the
extremum statistics that have been done from the Austrian Weather Service, Regional Centre
Innsbruck. The amounts of several snow depths are grouped and classified to get at least three
to four distinctly differing scenarios. The results of the simulation (run-out area, dynamic
pressures, etc.) are transfered to the risk analyses (Map of Avalanche Scenarios). The output
of the result of the numerical simulation with samos is spatially analysed with Geographic
Information Systems. To calculate the risk to be killed in a specific to avalaches exposed road
section is a function of (BUWAL 1999):

   i.   Intensity of the avalanche
  ii.   Length of the exposed road section
 iii.   Velocity of the car / bus
 iv.    Average daily traffic or rush hour traffic to calculate worst scenarios
        (Stickler et al. 1994)
  v.    Lethality (also a function of intensity)
 vi.    Avarage number of people per car / bus.

The Map of Risk on Roads shows how one scenario serve as a tool for detecting road sections
with higher risk potentials according to specific weather and snow conditions. The necessary
information which scenario is the closest to the real conditions are gained from detailed field
observations and automatic weather stations (AWS) in the region and around the region. At
the moment two AWS are in operational use in St.Anton a/A. The data are collected from the
Avalanche Warning Center in Innsbruck( Lawinenwarndienst) and distributed to all avalanche
commission members via FTP-access. One of the AWS is situated on the Rendl Ski Area and
is a fully equiped radiation balance station. This station deliver all necessary input data to run
Snow Models. In future the modelling results will serve as important input parameters for the
avalanche simulation results as well as additional information for the avalanche commissions.
Another method to support the decisionmaker with information on the snow distribution with
a Laserscanner is described in Sailer, 2001. All the mentioned systems, some of them are
under develpement yet, are promising methods in the field of fore- and nowcasting and should
grow up to discharging tools for the decisionmakers.

III. Organisation structure in the crisis management
The following subsections show the organisational structure that was developed previous to
the Alpin Ski World Championship 2001. The mandate to do this was given by the
Organisation Committee of the World Championship, the District Government of Landeck
and the Municipality of St.Anton a/A. This guaranteed the interest of all involved responsible
persons and the acceptance of all involved organisations - both very important facts for the
successful implementation of the intended program. The model mentioned below refers only
to winterseason and to activities derived from winter-risks.

III. 1. Orangisation structure - an overview

The organisation structure is based on a three phased model with three distinct main focuses.
The first layer - the "Information Layer" - shows how avalanche and weather relevant
information are provided to the decisionmakers, i.e. the avalanche commission in winter.
Particular the relevant information are delivered from official institutions, mainly from
avalanche warning centers ( Tyrol and Vorarlberg) and the Central Institute for Meteorology
and Geodynamics, Regional Centre Innsbruck. In the Federal District of Landeck the
Information Center ASI Landeck (Alpine Sicherheit und Information) was foundet in 2000.
The principle task of this union is the collection and distribution of security relevant
information to: i) the public (external area) or ii) to exclusive users (internal area) - both via
Internet access. To coordinate all decisions, a phone conference with the avalanche
commissions of the neighbouring municipalities has to be arranged from the head of the
avalanche commission of St.Anton a/A. This is because of the central location of the village
of St.Anton a/A along the West-East main road, connecting Western Austria with Central

Figure 7: Overview of structure layers of the Information Distribution in case of winter hazards

In the second layer - the "Decision Layer" - the interpretation of the information gained from
the "Information Layer" have to be analysed and interpreted. Following this interpretation the
responsibilities (i.e. avalanche commission and mayor) are encouraged to find first
preliminary measures. As mentioned above, at this stage of process the most modern
simulation and prognosis technologies are helpful tools. To save time and accurateness of the
decisions the distribution of the information has to be done immediately and without
intermediaryties (cf. Figure 7). The addressees of the distributed measures are all involved
organisations (municipality; emergency organisations - mountain rescue, fire brigade, red
cross; police; tourist information; ASI; etc.).

One of the focal points, mainly during the World Championship claimed, are the construction
of an "Expert Pool". Differing from the size of the hazardous situation local, regional or
(trans)national avalanche experts have been asked to support the crisis squad in several
manners, related to weather, avalanche and control measures topics. Thereby the fundamental
idea is to exculpate the responsibilies, i.e. the decisionmakers, from the necessity to
communicate with the press. Therefore decisionmakers must not be member of an local,
regional or (trans)national expert group, because these groups might have to evaluate the
decisions and measures. This results in an objective, transparent and therefore thrustworthy
illustration of the on-site situation. Whereas the "Local Experts" are familiar with the on-site
findings the "Regional Experts" and particularely the "(Trans)national Experts" are asked to
give comments related to the general avalanche and/or weather situation leading to road-
blocks and/or evacuations. This gains in importance if the municipality of St.Anton a/A is not
involved in such measures.

On the basis of the valid legal aspects and with reference to natural winter-hazards three main
scenarios (cf. chapter I.2.) have been created up to now: i) Alpine Accident, ii) Evacuation
and/or Roadblocks and iii) Worst Case. All the mentioned models are preliminary and are to
be revised during the final stage of the entire "Integral Risk and Crisis Managment Plan",
assuming that rules of internal procedures will be generated. Figure 8 gives a survey of the
structure and organisation in case of feasible evacuations and/or roadblocks.

Figure 8: Scenario - Evacuation

III. 2. Roadblocks and Evacuation

Even though control measures have been done on all relevant avalanche paths, in
extraordinary cases road blocks or evacuations may be necessary. Ditto in the frame of
evacuation plan and road blocks the simulation results are decisive parameter for the
decisionmakers and the authority of St.Anton a/A. Few years ago the Tyrolean Government
TIRIS (Tiroler Raumordnungs Informations System) started to georeference all addresses
throughout Tyrol. Together with the Digital Hazard Map and the Digital Catastrial Map it is
possible to build up the necessary steps to the evacuation plan completely within the frame of
a GIS and without additional features. Starting with a simple spatial query (cf. Figure 9) and a
thematic query the endangered road sections are highlighted (cf. Hardprint: Evacuationplan).

                                         Figure 9: Spatial query of addresses in hazard zones

                                         Additional to georeferenced addresses a database
                                         consisting of hotel and house names, together with
                                         phone and fax number, grid square and e-mail
                                         addresses is related to the addresses database. This
                                         offers the oportunity to have all major information to
                                         manage the information and mandatory evacuations
                                         (cf Figure 10). Additionaly to the hardprints the
                                         visualisation with an LCD Projector of the basic
                                         maps offers other advantages. During the meeting
                                         the decisionmakers do have all the same standard of
                                         knowledge with regards to the areas in discussion
                                         and the localities. And also in case of executing
                                         roadblocks or evacuations the visualisation and
                                         hardprint copies of the results of the meeting delivers
                                         a unique and from all members of the crises squad
                                         accepted opinion.

Figure 10: Result of spatial and thematic query

A Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan as introduced in this paper is a highly complex
construction. The topics range from recording and analysing natural hazard risks as a
combination of hard field work and computer simulation to applied Crisis Management with
the aim to prevent disasters and, in case of the occurance of a disaster, to manage the critical
situation. Provided that the policymakers have the readiness to invest time and money a
Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan supports additional tools to policy- and
decisionmakers. Both, time and money, is required to fulfill all the steps of investigating
agendas and management plans with regard to crisis handling. This is not only true for the
local authorities of the municipality but also for the next higher level of the district
government of Landeck. The establishment of an extended database is one of the efforts to a
succsessfull execution of the Risk and Crisis Management in work. Therefore a great number
of organisations are involved in the implementation. Due to the high developed
Geoinformation Departement of the Federal Province Government of Tyrol (Noggler 2000)
the mentioned demands are met in a wide range.

One of the basic aims of the pilot project is to find a way that allows an easy and simple
approach also in actualizing the data bases. The operationable structure and organisation
seems to be to install a Communal Information System. Communal Information System in the
structure of the Tyrolean Government GIS will ensure an up to date and homogenized
actualization of all data independent of the organisation of the Integrated Risk and Crisis
Management Plan. The Risk and Crisis Management Plan have to has without fail direct
access to the Communal Information System, which will be installed in St.Anton a/A within a
few months. In addition not only a Communal Information System fulfill the necessities
deduced from the "New Technologies" but also the coordination of the Internet-Access. ASI
Landeck (cf. chapter III.1.) shows an auspicious trend how external and internal areas can be
used to share information with the public or how the internal and restricted communication of
specific partners and organisations might be arranged.

Due to the fact that the legal situation is not conform with the possibilities offered by the new
technologies the mentioned "Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan" is a helpful and
necessary tool in all its particulars. The IKMP is embedded in the frame of the crisis
management duties of the municipality of St.Anton a/A. In case of an outstandig disaster or in
case of involving additional municipalities the Distric Government of Landeck assume the

leadership of the crisis management. Therefore, the district governor is leader and director of
operations (Figure 11). Due to that fact, the "Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan"
acts as an interface between the municipality of St.Anton a/A and the District Government of
Landeck. Within the functional frame of the municipality itself the IKMP enables the
communication between all involved organisations and offers the possibiltiy to the director of
operations (i.e. the mayor) to get into business without delay. All essential variations of
facilities are prepared to support the decision- and policymakers with the most important
information and prepared control measures during and/or in face of a disaster. In consequence
to the rapid devolpement of capable and effective computer based simulation and prognosis
technologies in avalanche science decisionmakers and official authorities need to be assisted
to ascertain the most useful tools and methods. The IKMP supports the policimakers as well
as the decisionmakers the necessary facts in cooperation with the Institute of Avalanche and
                                                             Torrent      Research.      Some
                                                             examples are illustrated in this
                                                             paper and in Sailer, 2001.

                                                              Figure 11: The IKMP as an
                                                              interface to the authorities and
                                                              emergency organisations.

                                                              The test run this year (2001) and
                                                              particularely the forefield of the
                                                              World      Championship        were
                                                              characterized by the central
                                                              control of public relations,
                                                              concerning risk- and crisis
                                                              management. Furthermore, a
                                                              distinct appropriation to the scope
                                                              of functions and a distinct
                                                              assignment of duties has been
                                                              carried out. After a tentative
                                                              review       of     this      semi-
                                                              administrative proceeding the
                                                              results are incoorporated in the
                                                              IKMP in progress. According to
                                                              that, the mayor of St.Anton a/A
                                                              has to enlist the Crisis Squad.
                                                              This has to been done parallel to
                                                              the emergency measures carried
out from the emergency organisations and mostly supervised from police. Due to the legal
situation the leadership of the crisis squad has to be assumed by the mayor himself. But, it is
planned to subdivide this wide range of technical and administrative responsibility into
several fields of duty. One of the focal points is to announce a responsible person out of the
crisis squad, who as to govern public relations and who has to interact with the press. This and
all other technical or administrative positions that have to be assigned require comprehensive
training and practice. Together with the Tyrolean Government (Departement: Avalanche
Commissions) and the University of Innsbruck (Departement of Geography and Institute for
Social Medicine) the Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research is organising training
courses for avalanche commissions and policimakers, taking into account the basics of risk
and crisis management.

Map of Settlement in Hazard Zones

Back to Text

Map of Avalanche Scenarios

Back to Text

Map of Risk on Roads

Back to Text

Hardprint: Evacuation plan

Back to Text

BUWAL, 1999. Risikoanalyse bei gravitativen Naturgefahren, Methode, 107/I. BUWAL,
Bern, 115 pp. Back to Text

Noggler, B., 2000. GIS im Intra- und Internet. Naturgefahren in Tirol. TIRIS. Back to Text

Sailer, R. and Rammer, L., 2001. Recalculation of an artificial released avalanche with
SAMOS and validation with measurements from a pulsed Doppler Radar. Natural Hazard and
Earth System Science, submitted. Back to Text

Sailer, R., 2001. Risk assessment and crisis management for a winter tourist resort (St.Anton
a/A, Tyrol, Austria). ESRI User Conference 2001, San Diego, submitted. Back to Text:
Chapter III.1. Back to Text: Conclusions

Sampl, P., Zwinger, T. and Schaffhauser, H., 2000. Evaluation of Avalanche Defense
Structures with the simulation Model SAMOS. Rock and Soil Engeneering, 1/2000: 41-46.
Back to Text

Stickler, H., Hafele, R. and Greussing, E., 1994. Verkehrskonzept St.Anton a/A: Analyse und
Konzept. Ingenieurbüro Stickler, Innsbruck. Back to Text

Rudolf Sailer
Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research
Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna, Austria


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