30 December 2019
Waikite Valley Civil Defence Group launched their new civil defence Community Response Plan at the Waikite Valley School prize giving earlier this month.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s Civil Defence Co-ordinator Linda Johnston is encouraging other rural communities to take a leaf from the Waikite Valley’s book, and create their own Civil Defence Response Plan.
It is important for rural communities to have a plan in the event of a disaster or emergency that requires a community wide response, as access to emergency resources can become scarce or cut off by flooding, earthquakes or landslips, which may block main routes into town.
For Linda, it was imperative that the Waikite Valley residents were on board to develop and distribute the plan. The collaboration meant the response plan is thorough and authentic for the Waikite Valley area.
“The volunteers that guided the development of the plan understood the importance of providing opportunities for residents to contribute. This team of volunteers know their own community best. A plan could be developed in a short time by a small number of people but it takes a much longer route when you involve the whole community… and that’s exactly what Waikite Valley did.”
Through their own community e-newsletter, ‘vall.enews’ they asked for ideas of how to tailor the response plan to best suit their own unique local landscape. They identified the hazards most likely to affect the area, chose how they wanted critical information shared during an event, and decided upon possible emergency welfare hub locations.
This plan has been a few years in the making, during this time the group redeveloped another local resource a new phone book for Waikite and Ngakuru residents. This resource supports the response plan by enabling neighbours to make contact with each other after an event, and to contact local businesses with available resources.
“Congratulations to all of those involved in creating the Waikite Valley Community Response Plan. The depth of your planning will enable you to be more prepared and recover more quickly when a Civil Defence emergency occurs and requires a community response. You have pioneered an excellent example to guide other rural areas,” says Linda Johnston.
For more information on how to begin a Civil Defence response plan for your community, contact Linda Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a look at Waikite Valley Community’s Response Plan, here.
To visit the national Civil Defence website, click here.