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Director's message

The response from the public and the Civil Defence Emergency Management community to the National Tsunami Warning (Marine and Beach threat) in mid-September was almost exactly as we had hoped for.

Apart from a handful of people who entered the water on the morning after the first tsunami waves arrived, the public heeded the alerts. For some communities and media there was also constructive discussion and commentary about how to respond to a tsunami warning like this one, and the different response required if a tsunami was generated by a more localised earthquake.

I want to acknowledge the response and the way the CDEM community worked together. A particular thanks to the GEONET Tsunami Experts Panel whose modelling of the waves we were to expect was right on the mark.

MCDEM is doing its usual review of how things went, including its low level activation of the National Crisis Management Centre.  We’ll let you know how that goes.

Our next big, known public event is the national ShakeOut earthquake drill at 9.15am on Thursday 15 October.  You can expect to see and hear more advertising and social media activity from now on as we continue to encourage people to sign up and take part.  Please promote this in your communities, and sign up if you haven’t already.

David Coetzee, Acting Director, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

Nine day ShakeOut countdown

We've passed the one million mark for the number of people signed up to take part in the national ShakeOut drill on Thursday 15 October.

The Blind Foundation was the one millionth sign up. We’ve now reached 1.1 million registrations.

We’ve got just nine days to get ready and get another 400,000 people on board to reach our 1.5 million target.

Large businesses are registering and we’ve got over half a million school children who will be involved. If you haven’t signed up yet do it, and get your mates, colleagues and competitors to sign up too. It’s easy - just go to http://shakeout.org.nz to registe, find out more and get resources to promote it.

We’re running a photo and video competition. Send in a picture or video of you doing the drill to our Facebook page or tweet it to #showusyourshakeout and you may win an ipad mini.

Caption: Minister of Civil Defence Nikki Kaye visits the Blind Foundation in Auckland, the one millionth ShakeOut registration

From the real tsunami event to the practice exercise planned for 2016

In August and September next year there will be a major exercise to practise the CDEM response to a regional source tsunami – where the tsunami is generated from an earthquake not far from the coast of New Zealand.  This scenario will be much worse than the Chile Tsunami event of 17 & 18 September we experienced a few weeks ago.

Planning has started on what this exercise -  dubbed Exercise Tangaroa – will involve, and who it will involve.

Mark August and September 2016 in your diaries to take part and see how prepared you and your communities are for a regional source tsunami.

Here’s the plan:
• Wednesday 31 August 2016: Phase One – a tsunami happens
• Wednesday 14 September 2016: Phase Two – just after the tsunami arrives
• Wednesday 28 September 2016: Phase Three – transition to recovery.

For any queries, contact Sara Leighton: sara.leighton@dpmc.govt.nz or 04 817 8588.

Getting better prepared for Tsunami in Hawke's Bay

The Hawke’s Bay has new official tsunami evacuation zone maps showing which areas should evacuate in different events.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management’s evacuation zone maps show red, orange and yellow zones, which need to be evacuated in different situations. All zones need to be evacuated in a major event.

“The maps build on information released in 2011, and aim to get the Hawke’s Bay community well informed about where the risk is and what to do,” says Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Manager, Ian Macdonald

“After a long or strong quake, lasting more than a minute or one that makes it hard to stand, people should ‘self-evacuate’ from all zones immediately, to nearby higher ground or inland.  Don’t wait for sirens,” he says.

Civil Defence emergency management officers throughout Hawke’s Bay will be working with local communities to develop community response plans and clear evacuation routes for residents.

The maps show evacuation boundaries based on a variety of hazard models which aim to include all possible flooding from all known tsunami sources, including ‘worst case’ rare scenarios for Hawke’s Bay for tsunami coming from both a very large local earthquake or from across the Pacific Ocean.
The maps are available at the new Hawke’s Bay hazard information portal at http://www.hbemergency.govt.nz/hazards/tsunami.

Consultation on draft revision of the Tsunami Evacuation Zones: Director’s Guidelines for Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

The objective of the guideline is to support an evidence-based approach to the development of tsunami evacuation zones and maps, which is consistent across New Zealand communities. This is to ensure that New Zealanders, no matter where they live or work, can be better prepared.

This guidance is an update, and will replace, the current Tsunami Evacuation Zones: Director’s Guidelines for Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups [DGL 08/08].

Updates include, but are not limited to, further information on modelling procedures, further explanation around utilisation of tsunami source data, reference to wave amplitude and sea level for defining zone boundaries, vertical evacuation and information for maritime activities.

The draft guidelines have been distributed for consultation to CDEM Managers and other staff in CDEM Groups, and to a range of local authority hazard analysts and planners MCDEM has had contact with on tsunami planning matters in the past. 

If you would like to review the draft guidelines, please email MCDEMHzrdRskResearch@dpmc.govt.nz and the documents will be sent to you.  Consultation closes on Wednesday, 18 November 2015.

Kiwi companies help Pacific tourism businesses get prepared

Two Wellington companies have just finished working on the ground in Fiji to better prepare Pacific tourism businesses for disasters.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) funded a five day workshop for the Pacific tourism sector run by Learn.Fast Pacific and Disaster Prepare Ltd and Workbridge.

The focus was on how businesses could safeguard guests and staff from sudden onset events such as fire, earthquake and tsunami, and to help private businesses to make better choices and become more resilient to natural hazards. The longer term goal was to help promote continued local employment in villages, ensure livelihoods were protected and tostabilise economies when disasters happened.

“Businesses are sometimes overlooked by the aid and development sector when there is a disaster yet they are often on the frontline when storms, floods, tsunamis, cyclones and other natural hazards occur. This is especially true for the tourism sector,” says Timothy Wilcox, UNISDR Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Pacific. “Studies show that between 25 and 40 per cent of small businesses fail to recover from a major natural disaster and that has huge implications for national economies,” says Mr. Wilcox.

Seven hotels and eight tourism businesses including Tropica Island resort, Gecko’s Resort, The Beachouse, The Warwick, Tambua Sands, Nanuku Auberge Resort, Vilisite’s, Ana’s Adventure tours and several handicraft stores took part.

The basis of the workshop was “Helping you to help yourself” and covered things like identifying local hazards, introduction to the concepts of getting prepared, starting with families and simple easily implementable business continuity plans.

Learning from the best at the South Island Emergency Management Conference

Learning lessons and learning from the best were highlights from the latest South Island Emergency Management Conference.

The Christchurch Civil Defence Emergency Management team hosted the conference in their home town.

“We need to keep discovering what works and what doesn’t from real time experience gained in national and international emergency events. This was one of the themes of the conference. We examined this, best practice and planning for a South Island Alpine Fault response during the two days of the conference,” says Alicia Palmer, CDEM Public Education & Community Resilience Coordinator.

Attendees went away with insights into
- Alpine fault planning and response
- The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct and the multi-agency approach to planning
- Response from young people to the Nepal Earthquake
- The Chatham Islands response to Cyclone Pam
- The National Science Challenge
- Community planning

Next year’s conference will be in Dunedin.

Getting Adult & Community Education funding into the right places

Getting the right funding to the right places and people is expected to be one of the results of the work of the new Emergency Management Adult and Community Education Fund Governance Group.

The Emergency Management Adult and Community Education Fund exists to
provide community-based education, foundation skills, and pathways into other learning opportunities for volunteers in the Civil Defence Emergency Management and Rural Fire sectors.

The Skills Organisation now co-ordinates the Fund with oversight from the Governance Group made up of representatives from MCDEM, CDEM Groups reps, NZFS, Rural Fire, NZSAR, the ITO (Skills Organisation).

The first meeting of the Governance Group has been held and it expects to:
• Provide strategic direction to the operation of the EM ACE Fund.
• Set priorities and approve the collective prediction of training need.
• Receive (from CDEM and Rural Fire working groups) and consider recommendations regarding new and existing course delivery needs.
• Govern the management of performance issues with providers.
• Receive and consider reports on the effective use of the EM ACE Fund, including training evaluation, and make subsequent recommendations.

Shaping a Resilient Auckland

To make Auckland city the most liveable in the world, it needs to effectively build resilience and reduce risk from potential shocks and stresses over the next 5 years and beyond.

This is one of the priorities Auckland CDEM Group has identified as it works on the Auckland CDEM 5-year Group Plan.

Group members have rolled up their sleeves in collaboration with other stakeholders, leaders and experts from Auckland and other parts of the country to look at the four priorities in the new Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction of:
Priority 1 -  Understanding disaster risk
Priority 2 - Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
Priority 3 - Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
Priority 4 - Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

At a half day workshop they examined each of the priorities and identified issues and gaps, and then set key targets and objects for how they can practically be integrated in the Group Plan.

This work will be incorporated into the first draft of the Group Plan which will go out for public consultation for three months from the 18 January 2016.

Testing times for Welfare Volunteers

Christchurch welfare volunteers have been put to the test in a locally run exercise that happens once a year to put their skills and training into action.

Their aim is to do better each year in the tests of how they activate, operate and demobilise a Civil Defence Centre. With this group they also wanted to practice using the new Emergency Management Information System’s welfare registration forms and to check our welfare trailer contents were sufficient for running a Civil Defence Centre.

This year over 70 people took part, including members of the public who came to act as displaced people. The exercise was held at Parklands Baptist Church to test a smaller facility that could be used in the East of the city.

The independent evaluation by the Emergency Management Training Centre included observations that the Welfare Centre was operational in record time, and volunteers were "friendly, compassionate, helpful, caring and fast".

Emergency preparedness project takes out top prize in Wellington regional science fair

Could a container, a plastic hose, bark from a tree and plumber’s tape be the answer for households wanting a system to filter water after a disaster?

Year 8 Wadestown School student Jacqui Ormsby came up with the wood filtering system and idea as part of her school science fair project.  It won her the top prize at this year’s Wellington regional science fair for Year 7-13 students.  She also won the one of the Massey University/GNS Science Joint Centre for Disaster Research inaugural prizes in disaster research.

Jacqui’s project was titled: ‘Would wood filter? Using xylem from New Zealand trees to filter water: helping us recover from disasters’. Her aim was to make a simple system that any household could make in the aftermath of a major disaster, so she set up a gravity system with a 20-litre water container connected to a plastic hose fitted with 15 mm diameter plugs of bark-stripped wood held in place by plumber’s tape. Her most promising results were obtained using samples of totara, which (compared to other native woods) had faster flow rates and higher rates of removal of a dye which acted as a proxy for removal of Giardia parasites.

The other disaster research prize went to Embla Joergensen, Year 7 student of Evans Bay Intermediate School. Embla investigated how different substrates affect liquefaction. She built an ingenious shake table connected to a power drill, and measured how far a brick sank into substrates such as gravel, sand and clay. Embla’s project also won the top prize for her year group.

News snapshot...

Emergency Preparedness Poster

Wellington City Council, the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management recently celebrated the official launch of their new emergency preparedness poster. It provides useful information on what you should include in your personal, home emergency supplies, and also what to do in an earthquake. The poster offers alternatives to the standard Drop, Cover, Hold technique for those with mobility issues.
For more information about this poster contact GetPrepared@wcc.govt.nz

New Coordination Centre Role Maps
Having a clear picture of the skills, knowledge and attributes of the people working in the Operations, Intelligence, Planning and Logistics in a Coordination Centre has just got easier with the new Coordination Centre Role Maps.   Check out the role maps at MCDEM’s website http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/cdem-sector/capability-development/cdem-learning-and-development-tools/role-maps/
If you have any questions regarding Role Maps, please contact Aimee Flanagan 04 817 8583 or email MCDEMCapDev@dpmc.govt.nz

Massey University Emergency Management

Summer Institute 7-11 March 2016
This short course programme provides a theoretical and practical introduction to selected topics relating to emergency management. Each course begins with an introduction and review of New Zealand and international research and practice. The topics will be explored through relevant case studies. The final session of each module provides practical tools and guidance for turning the theory to practice.

The Summer Institute is part of the Massey University paper 130.706 Emergency Management in Practice (30 credits). If you are enrolled in the Massey paper you will automatically be enrolled for the Summer Institute, at no additional cost. However, you do not need to be enrolled in the paper to attend the Summer Institute. For more information about Massey University’s Emergency Management teaching programme search “Massey JCDR”.
Find out more here.