18 October 2018
In a widespread and lengthy emergency, many Otago communities could be isolated for several days meaning locals will need to rely on each other for help and support. Across the region, Emergency Management Otago is helping communities to develop emergency response plans that are tailored to reflect local hazards, resources and circumstances.
Emergency Management Otago Director Chris Hawker says that 13 communities have already completed their response plans with over 25 more underway.
“People have put their hand up to work with their neighbours, workmates and friends in their own communities and suburbs to develop these plans. Our staff in each district are providing support and helping the locals access information about their hazards and the resources they can call on.
“In Otago we understand the challenges of responding to adverse events, and we’ve seen quite a lot of them in the last couple of years. Just a few weeks ago Glenorchy was isolated by fallen trees after a snowstorm, and last November Roxburgh lost power, water, sewerage and road access because of a cloudburst overhead.”
Each of the community response plans includes information on the area’s hazards, advice about preparedness and what each community should do in the event of different types of emergency – including the location of their civil defence centres, where they can expect to find information, and how to support stranded visitors.
Otago Regional Councillors were briefed on the community response planning process at today’s Technical Committee. The Council is one of the partners making up Emergency Management Otago, along with the five City and District Councils within Otago. Chairman Stephen Woodhead chairs the Joint Committee which governs Emergency Management Otago.
“I am pleased to report that considerable progress has been made on developing community response plans for priority communities across the Otago region,” Mr Woodhead says. “These response plans will provide vital information to communities on the specific hazards relative to their areas, as well as provide advice on how to prepare for different kinds of emergencies and what to do if, or when, it happens.
“Information is key. If disaster strikes, individual preparedness supports community readiness. Households that are able to look after themselves are better able to lend a hand to others. In an emergency, doing things like checking in on your neighbours, sharing food and supplies and offering to volunteer to help in a Civil Defence centre can make all the difference. Let’s support each other as one large community to ensure we’re ready for any situation.”
All the completed plans are on the Emergency Management Otago website: www.otagocdem.govt.nz
13 communities already have their own tailored emergency response plans. They are Arrowtown, Gibbston, Jack’s Point / Kelvin Peninsula, Kingston, Lake Hawea, Shotover Country / Lake Hayes, Makarora, Mosgiel/Taieri, Cromwell, Naseby / Ranfurly / Maniototo, Kakanui, Kurow and Waitaki Bridge