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April 2015

Foreword from the Director

In March I attended the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Sendai, Japan.

Hon Gerry Brownlee, in his capacity as Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, led a 19-person ‘official delegation’ which included others from MCDEM (Jo Horrocks and Sarah McCurrach), senior officials from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and the Earthquake Commission (EQC), as well as the mayor of Christchurch City, Lianne Dalziel, and the Deputy Mayor of Wellington City, Justin Lester. Some of the New Zealand attendees are pictured above.

The wider New Zealand party numbered an additional 22 people (bringing the total to at least 41 New Zealanders in total) and included representatives from GNS, LINZ, NZ Red Cross, Oxfam NZ, various NZ disaster research centres and universities. The conference was large, with over 8,000 registered delegates, and as many as 40,000 attending side events.

The Conference was a significant opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s reputation, experience and expertise in disaster risk reduction (DRR), to learn from other countries about their DRR initiatives, and to participate in the negotiations of the post-2015 global framework for DRR.

The new framework, the ‘Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030’, is the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. It contains a desired outcome and goal, principles, and priorities for action and was agreed before the conference concluded.

We will be doing some work in MCDEM to look at the implications of the new Framework, including actions we need to take forward into our work programmes and our long-term Strategy - more on that a later date. For now, please do have a look at the framework when you get a chance, it represents a lot of work globally by a lot of people, and will likely be influential in what we do going forward: http://www.wcdrr.org/preparatory/post2015

Sarah Stuart-Black

Cyclone Pam a testing event for Gisborne CDEM

Cyclone Pam was a testing event that provided interesting challenges and its changing track where small changes would affect the outcome. 

It was apparent early on that it was going to be a large event – certainly more intense than seen in our lifetime.

We had issues, when it was starting, with people comparing it to Cyclone Bola. While it was certainly more intense, it was never going to be a Bola. It came down the east coast, there was no blocking high and 200mm of rain forecast. During Cyclone Bola we recorded almost a metre of rain.

We began Cyclone Pam preparations early with the first email to our warning group on Tuesday 10 March and then meetings with partners on March 12 and 13.  

The EOC was established on Saturday 14 March (unlike most we need to set something up on the day) so we had plenty of time to get all the components in place.

On Sunday 15 March we confirmed arrangements with partners and organised a first shift to start at 5am on Monday.

As we expected, the worst effects of Cyclone Pam were on our coast with pretty significant coastal erosion. There were also lots of trees down causing power cuts.

One lesson identified was that reliance on electronics will be a huge vulnerability in future. At the peak of the event we had over 5,000 website and 298,000 Facebook hits. But what are people going to do when they aren’t available?

Article contributed by Richard Steele
Manager Emergency Management, Gisborne District Council

Cyclone Pam photo (Gisborne)

Photo above: Damage at Te Araroa, about 175km north of Gisborne. There used to be an airstrip on the coastal strip, now there is just enough for a helipad.

Cyclone Pam photo (Gisborne)

Photo above: Damage to the State Highway just north of Gisborne.

Social media boosts Bay of Plenty reach during Cyclone Pam

Social media proved a winner for Bay of Plenty CDEM during Cyclone Pam’s visit.

Our Facebook page membership soared 196 percent from the previous week’s 1500 ‘likes’, with a total of 4,767 followers by the time Cyclone Pam moved offshore. And it wasn’t just those followers reached with each post – total reach was 93,845 people.

We found that 73 percent of those who were following the posts were women, most aged between 25 and 44, but with strong numbers in the 15 to 24 year olds and over 55s as well. The male demographic showed a similar spread.

While the majority of those who visited the page lived in New Zealand, and most of those within the region, a surprisingly large number were checking in from Australia, the UK and other countries, including USA, South Africa, Canada, Germany, Philippines, Thailand and the Netherlands. That shows the spread of nationalities living in the Bay, and where their families and friends are checking in from.

The regular posts throughout the weekend were shared more than 1,500 times, with a total of about 123,000 clicks on posts. Before Pam was due to arrive the Bay of Plenty CDEM team provided regular updates on how to prepare and reminders about what should be in an emergency kit, where to pick up sandbags and who to contact with issues.

During the event itself, the team posted every couple of hours. The most popular post was at 5.32pm on Sunday when rain first began falling around the Bay. More than 3,300 people clicked on the post, and 1,600 people liked, commented or shared it.

People also commented during the event how the storm was affecting their own areas and shared information.

People also stayed engaged after the storm passed, sharing photos and videos which the CDEM team encouraged as a record of the event.

After Pam moved on people were quick to thank the team for their Facebook efforts.

People even suggested to others that they sign up for free text alerts and shared good advice like turning your trampoline upside down, and what schools were closed.

We used Twitter a little during the event, but Facebook was by far the most useful place to disseminate information, along with regular media releases. Twitter is too restrictive in character count to be useful for information sharing and is used mainly to alert of an event and direct public to our Facebook or website.

It shows that social media is a really valuable tool in the civil defence toolkit, and that as numbers grow we can use Facebook for preparations before an event as well as during one.
We hope that these new Facebook followers will keep up with our posts after events, and that Facebook can continue to be a useful avenue to keep people informed. We’ll always want more people to like our page.

Article contributed by Clinton Naude
Group Controller, Bay of Plenty CDEM Group

Photo: Matthew Turner

Photo: Barbara Dempsy

Photo: Chris Allen

Photo: Hautai Komene

Social media powerful in Hawke’s Bay response to Cyclone Pam

It’s hard to find a silver lining to a disaster as devastating as Cyclone Pam, but in Hawke’s Bay we have discovered a small ray of light – social media.

Prior to Cyclone Pam, like all good Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s throughout the country, Hawke’s Bay had set up its own group Facebook Page. We posted various events and tips, but struggled to increase our page ‘likes’.

From the very start of the early warnings we started posting on Facebook, using the event as an opportunity to engage with our Facebook friends and get them prepared.

We provided updates on what to expect from Cyclone Pam, tips on what they should do to get prepared and what we were doing as a group to be prepared should the worst scenarios eventuate.

As the weekend progressed, our Facebook ‘Likes’ started to rise and there started to be real engagement with our community through this social media portal. We found our ‘likers’ were sharing our information with others – pushing our message far and wide. One post had a reach of close to 30,000 people.

We posted photos of our teams out in the field, highlighting what was happening on the ground. We answered queries from concerned residents and gave regular updates on the situation.

As luck would have it Cyclone Pam didn’t wreak the havoc we thought it would on our region, but it did teach us a valuable lesson about the power and value of social media.

We felt engaged with our community and by the end of the event we had boosted our page ‘likes’ by 195%! Prior to Cyclone Pam we had 1,372 likes - after the event we tipped 4,055.

Now the challenge is how to continue to regularly engage with our social media community.

Article contributed by Helen Shea
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Communications Specialist & Hawke’s Bay CDEM Group Public Information Manager for Cyclone Pam

Auckland CDEM Facebook explodes in the lead up to Pam

In March 2014, Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management entered the social media space via Facebook and Twitter. 

Over a few modest events, such as October’s Penrose power outage and storms during the year, Facebook reached a modest proportion of the Auckland population with just over 8,000 dedicated followers. 

Engagement in the lead up and during Cyclone Pam increased patronage to over 24,000 followers. While this is only a mere 1.6% of Auckland’s population the actual reach over Pam was outstanding with the total post reach exceeding 970,700 people.

Posts specifically suggesting individuals follow the page and frequent updates – at least one per hour – in the lead up to the event contributed to this total. For example, a post at 8.24am on the day Pam was to track past Auckland (pictured) suggesting people follow the page reached 555,776 individuals with just under 3,000 likes and nearly 6,500 shares. 

Responses to this level of engagement as another communication platform have been overwhelmingly positive.  Interestingly, concerns over adequate resourcing to respond to requests via these platforms were not realised as public engagement on the site generally provided an appropriate response.

Article contributed by Richard Woods
Head of Emergency Management Planning, Auckland Council

Thanking those who volunteer and serve

Photo: Terry Norris, second from right, receives his Auckland CDEM Community Champion Award from MCDEM Northern Regional Coordinator John Titmus, while Angus McKay and Nicky Tayler (Auckland CDEM) look on.

Sunday 22 March marked the third annual volunteer recognition day for the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) team, held at the Stardome Observatory.

The dedication and commitment of volunteers enables Auckland CDEM to maintain a 24/7 response capability across the region. Volunteers attended together with their partners and children for a barbeque lunch and prize-giving.

“Recognition is a key part of a successful volunteer programme; we honoured our volunteers from the community as well as trained council employees,” said Nicky Tayler, Volunteer Coordinator.

“A feature this year was our Recognition Room; where volunteers could spend time reading personalised feedback displayed on the wall, watching a photographic show of their contributions this year and video messages from the CDEM team, as well as collecting their own certificate”. 

John Titmus (Northern Regional Coordinator, MCDEM) extended a message of gratitude to volunteers and their families. John, together with Angus McKay, (Head of Emergency Management Operations, Auckland CDEM) presented the following awards:

• 2015 Community Champion: Terry Norris (Mahurangi East Community Response Group Chair)

• 2015 Response Commitment Awards:  Antony Salter (Auckland Council Emergency Support) and David Nichols (Community Volunteer) for their efforts in the Queensland Fruit Fly Response

• 2015 Public Education Champions: Hema Puthran (Auckland Council Emergency Support) and Felicity Heaven (Community Volunteer).

Article contributed by Nicky Tayler
Volunteer Coordinator, Emergency Management Operations, Auckland Council


Photos from the Auckland CDEM Volunteer Recognition Day

International Children’s Day celebrated in style in Christchurch

Sunday March 1 was International Children’s Day and Christchurch turned on the charm for the event held beside the New Zealand Airforce Museum at Wigram.

Stan was able to put in an appearance along with the Shaky House, both proving to be among the top attractions at the event. 

A good day was had by all and Christchurch once again laid on excellent weather for the day with not a cloud to be seen in the sky.  Mascots abounded much to the delight of the thousands who came along on the day, and Stan met most of them during the course of the day. 

Christchurch City Council’s Walking Festival giant Pukeko even challenged Stan to an obstacle course race – a race we are happy to report that Stan easily won (especially after the Pukeko got confused by the basketball and thought it was an egg)!

Throughout the day there was always a queue of kids, both big and small, waiting for a turn in the Shaky House to demonstrate ‘Drop, Cover Hold’ or being Turtle Safe.  Correct demonstrations were rewarded with a drink bottle or shopping bag, and over 500 giveaway items were taken away by delighted families.

Stan also attempted the Police Assault Course that was set up but came nowhere close to the course record. “The clip-board was a bit of a hindrance and the tyres too small for my paws” Stan told his minder afterwards.

Article contributed by David Collins
CDEM Community and Welfare Volunteer Coordinator, Christchurch City Council
(Photos below by Stuart Whelan)

Stan and Pukeko prepare to race at Children’s Day in Christchurch

Stan comes nowhere close to the record for the Police Assault Course at Wigram

Stan tries out the Air Force Museum’s life raft – tsunami training?

Nothing but net

Waitaki District Council welcomes Ewen Graham to CDEM team

Ewen Graham has recently joined the Waitaki District Council’s Civil Defence & Emergency Management team in a part time capacity as Emergency Management Officer. 

Ewen started his new role on 26 January this year after retiring from a career with the NZ Police where he worked from July 1995.

Ewen moved from Waihi to Oamaru in 2007 and was policing in Oamaru until taking up his new role.

Having worked in small rural New Zealand towns for the majority of his policing career, getting to know the local community response groups has been one of his priorities. 

Ewen said that working with volunteers is something he is very familiar with and very much enjoys and he has encountered enthusiastic and capable groups all as diverse as the communities they live in. 

“It is very rewarding working with communities who are resilient and well equipped to cope with whatever is thrown at them,” he said.

Continuing to develop these relationships and upskilling where required is something Ewen is looking forward to. 

Article contributed by Jane Lodge
Waitaki District Council, Manager, Emergency Management

National Crisis Management Centre Review

The National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) was established to provide a facility to provide strategic level oversight, decision-making and coordination of responses to national crises. The renovations and fit-out were completed at the end of 2003.

Since then, the facility has undergone a number of minor upgrades (cosmetic and a number of network and infrastructure modifications), predominantly in response to areas identified as part of real events and exercises. 

Operational requirements have evolved over time across a number of agencies that have varying degrees of responsibility either as a lead or support agency. Agencies are increasing their focus on testing and demonstrating their capabilities, and as a result, use the NCMC more often.

The response to the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 stretched the NCMC to unprecedented levels that exposed several weaknesses. Recent exercises led by other agencies have revealed that the NCMC is not optimally set up for events and exercises led by agencies other than the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).  This includes the need for effective interoperability between the NCMC and other lead agency Coordination Centres.

Therefore a high level fit-for-purpose review of NCMC will be conducted to ensure it supports New Zealand’s national security system efficiently and effectively across the full range of hazards that New Zealand faces.

The review will be conducted by MCDEM with oversight from the NCMC Working Group and is due to be completed in October 2015.

Contact: Jo Guard, Team Leader National Operations, MCDEM, 04 817 8582.

Public education representatives pooling resources

The National CDEM Public Education Reference Group is working together to develop a calendar of monthly themes and pool their resources.

The National CDEM Public Education Reference Group (NPERG) had their annual meeting in Wellington in March. 

MCDEM public education advisor and NPERG project leader, Bridget Cheesman, facilitated the meeting.

Traditionally the focus of the meeting is to plan for Get Ready Week. However, with New Zealand ShakeOut being the theme for Get Ready Week 2015, Bridget wanted to widen the focus of the group.

“I’ve only been at MCDEM for less than seven months, but I’ve seen some excellent public education resources developed regionally which I think we could all use. The public education people I have spoken to across the country have all supported the idea of pooling our resources and sharing them nationally.”

The group looked at a calendar of monthly themes for the 2015/16 year and discussed which resources their region held on each of the themes and what they would need to fill the gaps.

Monthly themes ranged from earthquakes/tsunamis to families and households.

While the group identified some variations in regional needs and current calendars, they will focus on making sure they have at least one resource for each theme that they can use nationally. Among the resources discussed were:

• Helen Shea, Hawke’s Bay, presented on Te Hīkoi a Rūaumoko/Rūaumoko’s Walk, a resource developed for Māori language preschools and primary schools which includes a bilingual book, waiata/songs, and bilingual child-friendly emergency planning resources, as well as magnets and stickers. NPERG members were impressed with the resource and will look to replicate it in their regions, taking into account local dialects.

• Ben Ingram, Taranaki, showed the groups a series of online video clips created to strengthen whanau resilience. Fronted by Pio Terei, the clips focus on what to do in a tsunami, how to get through as a whānau and coming together as a community. Taranaki has also produced posters to tie in with the video clips. While initially developed for a Māori audience, NPERG believes they will appeal to a range of audiences.

• Craig Sinclair, Southland, played the group and series of radio advertisements, developed for the region and available for national use. They have a catchy song and sound professional.

The group also looked at resources for this year’s New Zealand ShakeOut. They agreed that MCDEM’s resources for the 2012 drill were timely and useful, and looked at whether we needed to develop further resources and which promotional products they might purchase as a group.

The NPERG is also keen to use their collective buying power to develop promotional items and printed materials for the Get Ready Get Thru campaign, and will use New Zealand ShakeOut 2015 to test the logistics and benefits of doing so.

“While our regions have specific differences, we also have a lot of similar needs. It makes sense to collaborate on developing and producing the resources we need together, to take advantage of our experience, skills and strength in numbers,” says Bridget.

“I’m excited to be working with a group that is motivated, like-minded and passionate about what they do.”

Article contributed by Bridget Cheesman
Public Education Advisor, MCDEM

New Zealand ShakeOut – less than a week to go until the launch!

New Zealand ShakeOut is a national earthquake drill taking place at 9:15am, 15 October 2015. It’s a chance for everyone in New Zealand to practise the right action to take during an earthquake – Drop, Cover and Hold.

The Minister of Civil Defence, Hon Nikki Kaye, will officially launch the New Zealand ShakeOut campaign on Tuesday 28 April.

From then, people will be able to register online at www.shakeout.govt.nz to take part in the drill. New Zealand ShakeOut is targeted at all people in New Zealand, and our aim is to have 1.5 million people participate.

We therefore ask you to get on board and engage in the planning and promotion process to encourage as many of your stakeholders and people in your own communities to take part.

This is an exciting public education opportunity to engage with your community and promote preparedness actions that will enable people to get ready for a large earthquake.

A number of resources have been developed to make it as easy as possible for you to engage in this process. Detailed guidelines information will be provided to CDEM groups and these guidelines, along with a raft of resources, will be available on the website www.shakeout.govt.nz from April 28.

Contact: New Zealand ShakeOut Coordinators, Bridget Cheesman and Jamie Shaw (MCDEM), Phone 04 817 8555 or email shakeout@dpmc.govt.nz

Bringing your Business Continuity Plans to life

Photo: ResOrgs team members brainstorming strategy together on organisation retreat (Photo Credit: Rizwan Ahmad)

Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) are often created in the spirit of compliance rather than out of a desire for real organisational readiness.

In order for BCPs to be effective when the ground starts shaking they need to be well thought out documents, but more importantly, they need to be practised as a living strategy. 

So what are some ways that your organisation can start engaging staff members in business continuity planning that won’t feel like another time-consuming compliance exercise?

Here are five ideas for stress testing your plans that don’t feel like homework on a Saturday:

1. Plan a morning tea crisis scenario session with staff. Put some simple scenarios to your staff and see what kinds of responses and questions they come up with.

2. Swap roles (perhaps even desks) during planning exercises. This will help break down silos in the organisation.

3. Get out of the office.  Have a day or two a year where staff exercise remote operations (e.g. working from home).

4. Get staff together over lunch and brainstorm approaches to getting the business back up and running after a disruption.  The following week, give them a crisis scenario to test these approaches.

5. Make sure people know how to get in touch. Compile and distribute electronic and paper lists. Arrange a surprise morning tea every few months and only notify people using their listed contact number. 

For more ideas visit: www.resorgs.org.nz

Article contributed by Joanne R Stevenson, Charlotte Brown, Erica Seville & John Vargo
Resilient Organisations

Community Patrols look to strengthen ties with CDEM

Photo: (Left to right): Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ)Counties-Manukau District Chair, Garry Shearer, Counties-Manukau Police District Commander John Tims, CPNZ Counties- Manukau District Representative Graham Walmsley and CPNZ Chief Executive, Murray Smith, in the Counties-Manukau Police District Command Centre following a recent information-sharing and planning meeting.

Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ) gave a presentation to the most recent CDEM Regional Managers Forum.

CPNZ is a volunteer organisation that works closely with Police in crime prevention, deterrence and, at times, detection. CPNZ has over 150 patrol groups and some 4,000 volunteers throughout New Zealand.

Its purpose is to empower communities to prevent crime and create safer environments through the utilisation of trained and equipped volunteer patrols with the overarching vision of safe, resilient communities.

CPNZ Chief Executive Murray Smith told the CDEM Regional Managers Forum that, as part of the Strategic Plan adopted last year, CPNZ is seeking to actively expand its community engagement  beyond simply working with police.

In particular, It was now looking to work cooperatively with other agencies, including CDEM groups, in a more structured and consistent way, to help create safer environments.

Mr Smith said the presentation to the forum appeared to be very well received and many of the CDEM group managers were now actively working on establishing relationships with CPNZ districts throughout the country.

More information about CPNZ is available on the website www.cpnz.org.nz or by emailing office@cpnz.org.nz

Working as one in the Nelson-Tasman

A few times a year we hold a Welfare Operations Team (WOT) meeting to share stories, identify capacity and capability issues and ensure we are building strong relationships and networks between agencies in the emergency welfare sector.

Our most recent WOT for the Nelson Tasman CDEM group saw the demonstration of the Christchurch based Red Cross disaster response truck which can cater for up to 70 affected people and can be deployed within hours.

Interagency collaboration and coordination drives our emergency welfare response and we are looking forward to the release of the new Welfare Directors Guidelines.

Article contributed by Lauren Stockbridge
Emergency Management Officer, Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence Emergency Management

Neighbours Day Aotearoa celebrated by thousands

Neighbours Day Aotearoa was celebrated over the weekend of 28-29 March 2015 by thousands of Kiwis all over New Zealand! 

Project Manager Kimberley Cleland said that Neighbours Day Aotearoa measured an increase in the uptake of participants and organisations across New Zealand including 716 registered neighbourhoods, over 400 resource packs sent out and lots of local and national media coverage. 

A website and resources upgrade made it easier for Kiwis to connect with their neighbours and turn their streets into a neighbourhood www.neighboursday.org.nz

“Our favourite part of Neighbours Day is celebrating local stories and seeing how people use the campaign and make it their own,” Kimberley said.

Wellington ran a very successful programme outlined in more detail below.

Wellington City Council has been working on a project this summer to modernise the message ‘get to know your neighbours’ and to make it more relevant to young adults 18-25 years.

Wellington City Council Neighbourhood Development Coordinator Angela Rampton said the council had worked with Massey University Design students who designed a multi-media campaign called #wellynextdoor. This campaign fed into the lead up to Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2015.

“Wellingtonians have shared their short neighbourly stories - either online or on postcards available from “peg up your story’ boards at libraries, community spaces, City Housing complexes, University orientation days, and community fairs and events” Angela said.

“The stories on these postcards are then uploaded to the website www.wellynextdoor.co.nz where some of the stories have been turned into quirky hand drawn videos.”

If you would like to have your say and provide feedback to the national Neighbours Day Aotearoa campaign, please follow the link to complete the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5J7PKLG

Article contributed by Kimberley Cleland, Project Manager – Neighbours Day Aotearoa and Angela Rampton, Neighbourhood Development Coordinator, Wellington City Council

Massey University students with the #wellynextdoor display.  

A great communication tool for local government emergency managers

It can get a bit lonely being an Emergency Management Officer in a small council.

I would love to know what is exciting or challenging my fellow professionals across New Zealand. Or to get some sympathy after spending all day in a hot A&P show tent only to have people turn away from your displays while seeking the shade of your tent.

It’s also frustrating to work on a plan or idea only to find out later someone has already cracked it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could tap into each other’s brains?

Local Government Connect offers an email network so that everyone who joins can post a question or share an idea. There are lots of networks for all sorts of Council workers. I have been on the resource consent planner’s network for years and it is brilliant and very useful.

I signed up for the emergency management network and sent an email to see who is online. I got a few responses but the feedback I got said the site is pretty quiet.

So, let’s make some noise. I invite all you to join and start using the site.

How do I join?

You subscribe to the list by emailing listserv@lgconnect.co.nz with “Subscribe” and the “EMERGMAN” in the body of the email. If this doesn’t work put the word “Subscribe” in the subject bar and the “EMERGMAN” in the body of the email. Also make sure your signature is erased.

To send a new message to the discussion group, send it to EMERGMAN@lgconnect.co.nz with an appropriate subject line.

When you join, send out a joke or a piece of CDEM wisdom you have picked up along the way (or you could just send out a question or something) and I will send you a prize!

Hope to see you there.

Article contributed by Kd Scattergood
Resource Consent Planner/Emergency Management Officer, Kaikoura District Council

Save the date – South Island Civil Defence Emergency Management Officers’ Conference 2015

Join us in Christchurch on the 13th and 14th of August for the South Island Civil Defence Emergency Management Officers’ Conference in 2015, hosted by the Christchurch City Council CDEM Team.

Keep an eye on e-bulletin for more details, or contact Alicia Palmer at alicia.palmer@ccc.govt.nz