Community & Environment

Big civil defence exercise helps Hamilton hunker down

Council staff participating in the exercise (left to right) Civil Defence Coordinator Scott Bult, Community Funding Advisor Sandra Larsen and Senior Community Advisor Fungai Mhlanga.

A major civil defence exercise involving around 100 Hamilton City Council staff has practised receiving victims of a shipping disaster and responding to a major storm.

Today’s exercise at the Claudelands Events Centre is the first in a new series of exercises to ensure the city is better prepared for disaster readiness, response and recovery.

Activity at Claudelands involved staff from the Council and partner organisations operating an exercise Civil Defence Centre.

“It was great to see our staff working so well together with other agencies at the exercise Civil Defence Centre we established,” says the Council’s Hamilton Civil Defence Controller Kelvin Powell.

“We’ll be following up with more exercises locally to ensure we are fit to respond in a wide range of circumstances.”

“The recent earthquake centred on Taumarunui and ongoing disasters in New Zealand and around the world show we can never afford to be complacent.

The exercise scenario today was that a large passenger ship was in distress off the east coast of the Coromandel in bad weather and that 80 evacuees needed accommodation in Hamilton. Also, Hamilton itself was being battered by the same bad weather with widespread damage to residential and commercial areas, meaning a number of local residents were likely to need shelter as well.

“What we’ve learned will help us develop both Council and community readiness and response capacity to cope with adverse circumstances,” says Kelvin.

However, he noted with concern a recent survey indicating low levels of preparedness amongst the community for earthquakes.

“The recent earthquake centred on Taumarunui and ongoing disasters in New Zealand and around the world show we can never afford to be complacent.

“We, as individuals and as a community, really do need to do more to ensure we can cope with, respond to and recover from disasters. One of the keys to that is planning at a family level and I encourage people to take preparedness very seriously.”

Find out how to make a plan

Image: Council staff participating in the exercise (left to right) Civil Defence Coordinator Scott Bult, Community Funding Advisor Sandra Larsen and Senior Community Advisor Fungai Mhlanga.

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