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February 2015

Foreword from the Director

Another month has flown by and while much of the country has been bathed in sunshine, decent rainfall would no doubt be a welcome sight for some parts, particularly for many farmers and growers.

I have started a busy programme of mainly informal visits and discussions with CDEM Groups and key central government agencies. The meetings are an opportunity for me to hear about your priorities, key issues and challenges you are facing and your ideas and views about opportunities for the future. So far I have met with two CDEM Groups – Canterbury and the Chatham Islands, and this month I am meeting with Auckland and Hawkes Bay. In March, meetings are planned with Waikato, Wellington, Taranaki and Manawatu-Wanganui. From the meetings held so far, a variety of topics were discussed including: strengthening resilience, risk reduction, public alerting, tsunami arrangements, public education and ShakeOut, infrastructure and economic development, collaborative approaches for shared practice, engagement with the private sector and business continuity.

In early March I will be travelling to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. The conference is the largest and most important event on the global disaster risk reduction calendar, with over 5,000 participants expected to attend. Organised by the United Nations Office for DRR (UNISDR) and hosted by the Government of Japan, it includes formal Inter-Governmental sessions, ‘multi-stakeholder’ and working sessions, and a public forum. The last conference (Hyogo 2005) endorsed the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. This global plan identified priority actions for DRR and provided guidance on their implementation. A total of 168 countries, including New Zealand, are signatories. A new post-2015 Framework for Action is being negotiated for endorsement at Sendai. New Zealand has been actively engaged in negotiations to ensure it reflects New Zealand and Pacific Island interests, and appropriate actions for improved disaster risk reduction. The New Zealand delegation will be headed by Minister Brownlee, and comprise officials from MCDEM, CERA, MFAT, and EQC, as well as from Christchurch and Wellington city councils. A range of other New Zealanders from science, research, and non-governmental organisations will also be present – so all in all, it will be quite the turnout from a New Zealand point of view. We’ll provide an update on outcomes after the conference.

Next week is the Minister’s CDEM Awards ceremony, celebrating the achievements of those that have made a significant contribution to CDEM. The Minister’s Awards are intended for those people, groups or organisations that have made significant contributions to CDEM in New Zealand and deserve recognition at the national level. The CDEM Awards Programme was introduced by the then Minister of Civil Defence in 2009 to recognise career and volunteer personnel within the CDEM sector. The Programme also serves to raise awareness of CDEM efforts across New Zealand. I am a firm believer in celebrating the success of individuals and teams and these Awards are one way we can collectively recognise that success.

I look forward to meeting with more of you over the coming months.

Sarah Stuart-Black

NZ response to Tongan volcanic eruption

Photo: Distal view of the eruption plume (steam and gas) from the Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai volcano. The new volcanic island formed by the eruption can be seen between the two higher older islands. GNS Science

In late December 2014, the Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga started to erupt.

While initial interest was limited, the cancellation of several flights due to the potential presence of volcanic ash in the atmosphere caused a high level of interest from the aviation sector, authorities and sustained media enquiry.

Many Tongan eruptions are submarine in nature and usually only affect shipping. This was the first time a Tongan volcano had produced volcanic ash affecting international aviation.

As the volcanic activity developed, the Tongan authorities requested assistance from the New Zealand Government, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

GNS Science (Volcanology Department) was contracted in January by MFAT to support the Tongan Government in their response to the eruption. Two GNS Science volcanologists (Nico Fournier and Steve Sherburn) went to Tonga for eight days and the wider team (Brad Scott, Natalia Deligne, and Geoff Kilgour) provided support from New Zealand, particularly with the media and Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The in-country support allowed better assessment and reporting of the ongoing volcanic activity. This in turn led to better coordination of the responding authorities.

The response to this event created a coordinated response from the Tonga Government, the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga, MFAT, the VAAC and GNS Science. This was an excellent opportunity to establish a better awareness of the impacts of volcanic activity and required responses.

In part the response was made easier because of work previously done by MCDEM in developing event response capability in Tonga.

Article contributed by Brad Scott
GNS Science Volcanologist

Photo: A phreato-magamatic explosion, these occur when fresh hot magma reacts with water in the vent of the volcano. Crater floor debris, lava (magma), steam and water are ejected 200-300m above the vent in these explosions. GNS Science

Nico Fournier (GNS Science, head of volcanology) explaining to staff from the Department of Land and Resources and NEMO aspects of the ongoing eruptions. GNS Science

Tonga outreach: Steve Sherburn (GNS volcano seismologist) presenting a briefing to Aviation, NEMO and other responding agencies on the volcanic activity. GNS Science

Southland volunteer coordination

Photo: Emergency Management Southland Volunteer Coordinator Delia Riley and Emergency Management Officer Craig Sinclair.

We are all aware that organising enthusiastic volunteers can take up a lot of our time. 

Emergency Management Southland (EMS), like all other regions, is working on a plan for the management of volunteers.

EMS was fortunate to procure the services of Delia Riley. Delia previously worked as a Volunteer Coordinator with Volunteer South in Invercargill. She resigned that position to enable her to continue her extramural studies.  

Delia’s advice and initial evaluations evolved into her being offered a casual contract to assist us in ensuring that we were managing our volunteer workforce as best we could.  She has been involved in a number of meetings with volunteers.

EMS made a Resilience Fund application and was successful in gaining funding for the 2015/16 year to extend the project.

The goal is that Delia will identify and recruit professionals and volunteers in the community who can be listed as volunteer coordinators. These people will be targeted because they already have the skills to manage events and volunteers, and can think on their feet.

“We know these people are out there organising fantastic events and fundraising projects,” said Neil Cruickshank, Manager of EMS. “Delia will be tasked with making contact with these people checking on their availability in an emergency and offering them a small amount of training. They will have the skills, it’s only the context of what they are doing that will change.”

These guidelines could then be shared as a document and by presentations on the learnings to appropriate Emergency Management forums. 

Delia’s work will run alongside her study and will uncover some valuable data for her to incorporate into her assignments.

Article contributed by Craig Sinclair
Emergency Management Officer, Emergency Management Southland

Auckland is on the move!

Photo: Paul Clement and Calvin Hicks checking mobile Emergency Operations Centre equipment is locked and loaded.

Auckland have been designing and testing a mobile Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), capable of being deployed at short notice in any location, such as a community hall, school or at a public event. 

The equipment includes laptops, satellite internet and phone, a portable radio repeater and handsets, all deployable from hard cases which fit neatly into a recently branded response vehicle.

Allowing staff to work remotely in an emergency, from any location, is the main aim of the mobile EOC said Paul Clement, Manager Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC).

“It improves onsite coordination by being on-the-ground at any event or emergency and facilitates real time intelligence to and from the ECC,” he said.

During Auckland’s 175th Anniversary celebrations, a pilot run of the mobile EOC was carried out on the waterfront location to assist staff in managing the event.

“The speed of setting up the equipment and ease of use made it much easier to manage the event allowing the celebrations to run smoothly,” Mr Clement said.

Article contributed by Calvin Hicks
Duty Officer, Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management

Bring on the bubbles … Fire and Rescue Day

A sea of young children and their parents descended upon Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) recently for their annual Fire and Rescue day. 

Along with fellow emergency services, the two Auckland Local Emergency Response Teams (ALERT’s) were there to support the event and Stan.  The overcast day helped encourage families to come along as people were queuing around the block before opening. 

As you can see from the photo, the day attracted a lot of kids who thoroughly enjoyed the sea of bubbles!

Article contributed by Paul Read
Emergency Management Advisor, Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management

New generator means Clutha District Council better prepared

Photo: Clutha District Council’s Emergency Management Officer Brendon Smith with the Council’s new generator.

A brand new generator was delivered and installed at the Clutha District Council’s Balclutha headquarters recently - future proofing the organisation for emergencies.

The new 150KVA three-phase generator, which can hold 650 litres of diesel, is capable of supplying enough energy to run the whole of the Council’s main office, and then some. It’s also a lot quieter than the old machine.

It replaced a 110KVA second-hand generator which Council had outgrown.

The new generator, along with the total rewiring of the Emergency Operating Centre earlier in 2014, mean Council is now better prepared if a civil defence emergency were to strike the Clutha District.

However, the old generator is not destined for the scrap heap just yet; Council is investigating having it installed at the Balclutha waterworks as back-up during prolonged power-outages.

Article contributed by Rachel Askew
Communications Coordinator, Clutha District Council

A college with a recipe for success

When the ingredients include a motivated Principal and team of senior teachers, 100 staff, 500 students and the Devereux-Blum Training & Development Ltd team then a college-wide exercise looked to be appetising, palatable and guaranteed to leave a good taste in people’s mouths.

This was certainly the aim of the 'chefs' cooking up a whole college exercise for Wellington Girls' College focusing on their response to an emergency situation on the school grounds, the preparedness of the Incident Management team working with CIMS, the College Rescue teams and staff and students working together.

The diary date was 4 December 2014 and all the prior work undertaken came to the fore with five hours racing by, with people’s heads down working closely together. The exercise was an excellent example of best practice in action with efforts to date in Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery undertaken by Wellington Girls' College, showing positive benefits for all in the school community. The outcome of the day exceeded people’s expectations.

The College’s ongoing commitment to training key staff, ongoing whole school and community awareness of readiness in place, planning dates and times for people to practise together and students understanding their role in readiness was a recipe for success.

As with any recipe, the chefs will tweak this recipe further after tasting, recommend some further considerations but acknowledge it was a successful recipe worth repeating. For all involved the photos and video brought back great memories of the day.

Article contributed by Sharyn Devereux-Blum
Director, Devereux-Blum Training & Development Ltd

Facebook page for North Taranaki Neighbourhood Support

North Taranaki Neighbourhood Support works with Civil Defence Emergency Management by keeping up to date electronic and hard-copy records with contact details of all members on our database. This information is helpful in the event of a civil defence emergency to enable easier contact with the community.

Neighbourhood Support staff also attend community meetings in areas that need assistance in creating a civil defence plan. Civil defence is a key message delivered to all new Neighbourhood Support members.

We have recently created a Facebook page for North Taranaki Neighbourhood Support. We will be using the page, along with our website and e-mail newsletter, to give regular updates on crime trends, scams, and wanted persons as well as providing prevention advice. We hope to reach a wider group of the community than we may have in the past, by starting this page.

You can find us at: www.facebook.com/NorthTaranakiNeighbourhoodSupport

Article contributed by Charlotte Hurley
North Taranaki Neighbourhood Support

New Zealand ShakeOut 2015 – is the date in your diary?

New Zealand ShakeOut is an earthquake preparedness campaign, which will culminate in a nationwide Drop, Cover and Hold drill at 0915 on 15 October 2015. Be a part of 1.5 million people in New Zealand participating in this drill and put the date in your diary now!

The Planning, Steering and Governance Groups are continuing to work behind the scenes to prepare for the official launch, which will take place on 28 April 2015.

We are aiming to issue the first official ShakeOut newsletter shortly, which will contain up to date ShakeOut news and where to find further information. If you would like to be on this mailing list, or have any queries, please email shakeout@dpmc.govt.nz

CDEM Controllers’ Development Programme

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is now calling for nominations for attendance on the next cohort of the CDEM Controllers’ Development Programme.

The programme, a joint venture between MCDEM, Massey University, GNS Science and AUT, has been created to meet the capability development needs of Controllers at local, regional and national levels. 

The CDEM Controllers' Development Programme is the only programme sanctioned by MCDEM to represent qualification for the role of Controller.

Nomination forms are available from MCDEM Regional Emergency Management Advisors.

Nominations close 6 March 2015.

Dates for the Cohort 15/1 are:

Phase 1: Pre-course Development
Commencing 7 April 2015
(3-4 hours/week)

Phase 2: Residential Course
25-29 May 2015 – Wellington (TBC)
(5 days x 8 hours minimum)

Phase 3: On-going Development
Completion no later than 7 April 2017
(5 hours/month)

Once nominations have been received by MCDEM, a selection process will occur and acceptance of attendance will be communicated to the respective individuals and CDEM Groups.

The criteria for acceptance will be based on the principles of fairness, equity, and the ability to form a balanced cohort.

If you have any queries, please contact MCDEM Team Leader Capability Grant Morris on (04) 817 8581.

Disaster Communications Conference 30-31 July, Auckland

Earlybird registrations are about to open for this year’s specialised disaster communications conference, taking place in Auckland on 30-31 July.

Organised by Emergency Media & Public Affairs (EMPA), this event is dedicated to sharing best practice in emergency communications across the public and private sectors, emergency services, utilities, media and researchers.

Topics this year include alerting; communications challenges around pandemics and disease; community engagement in recovery; and the latest thinking on the use of social media for communicating during emergencies.

Keynote speakers already confirmed include Antony Byers, Director of National Security Communications; Sarah Stuart-Black, Director of MCDEM; Fran McGrath, Deputy Director of Public Health with MOH; and a return visit from Mark Crosweller, Director-General of Emergency Management Australia – one of the stand-out presenters at the 2014 EMPA conference.

Programme and registration details are available online at http://www.empa.org.au/site/conferences_nz.htm

Article contributed by Michele Poole
Chair, EMPA NZ Conference Committee

Public Information Management Workshop

A reminder that nominations for the next MCDEM Public Information Management (PIM) workshop close on Friday 20 March. 

The workshop will be held at the Auckland Airport Holiday Inn on 21 and 22 April 2015.

If you are interested in attending, please complete the nomination form (available on the MCDEM website at http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/about/news-and-events/events/pim-workshop-april-2015/) and submit it to your CDEM Group Manager.

If you have any queries about the workshop, please contact MCDEM Capability Development Advisor Aimee Flanagan on (04) 817 8583 or aimee.flanagan@dpmc.govt.nz

Exercise Writing and Management Course – nominations still open

The next Exercise Writing and Management Course will be in Auckland on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 May 2015. This two day course has been developed to build and maintain national consistency and quality standards for CDEM exercise development. The course is run annually and it supports the CDEM Exercises Director’s Guideline.

With a Tier 4 (national) CDEM exercise planned for 2016, we want to continue to upskill the CDEM sector in exercise writing and management. The course is limited to 16 participants. We encourage a multi-agency approach to exercising and this course is open to CDEM staff and our partner agencies. The course is very practical with lots of interaction and activity. There is no cost to attend, although participants will need to fund their own travel and accommodation.

To nominate yourself for a place on the course, please complete a nomination form (which can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website by following this link: www.civildefence.govt.nz/cdem-sector/capability-development/cdem-training-and-courses/) with your details and send it to the appropriate person outlined on the form by Friday 10 April 2015. Selection will be made based on where we see the greatest need, so ensure you outline your Group or agency needs in the nomination form. Preference will be given to those currently tasked with exercise development in their respective agencies.

For any questions, please contact your MCDEM Regional Emergency Management Advisor in the first instance, or Anita Walker at MCDEM (anita.walker@dpmc.govt.nz, (04) 817 8587).

2016 Tier 4 (national) exercise – call for Planning & Steering Group members

In August and September 2016, the next Tier 4 CDEM exercise will occur. The exercise will be based on a tsunami event and will involve all 16 CDEM Groups and partner agencies. We are looking for enthusiastic people to assist with the planning of this exercise!

Nominations for Planning and Steering Group members open Monday 16 February and close on Friday 6 March 2015. The first round of meetings will likely take place over 14-15 April (to be confirmed).

Planning Structure for the exercise

1. Planning Group (‘the doers’): Responsible for exercise design, conduct and evaluation.

2. Steering Group (‘the good news spreaders’): Responsible for assisting the Planning Group with the communication and implementation of exercise plans within and across agencies. 

3. Governance Group (‘the big tickers’): The already established CDEM National Exercise Programme Governance Group will act as a “board” for the exercise to ensure it is well run and well governed so that its value can be maximised.

Nomination Process

• For CDEM Group Representatives, the Convenor of the CDEM Managers Group will call for nominations from CDEM Group Emergency Management Managers or Coordinators via email on Monday 16 February 2015. A draft Terms of Reference will be provided at this time.

• For partner agencies, a call for nominations will be made via email on Monday 16 February 2015, along with a draft Terms of Reference.

For any queries, contact Anita Walker at MCDEM: anita.walker@dpmc.govt.nz or (04) 817 8587.