Communities plan for next disaster
Plimmerton residents had to cut short their emergency management meeting when the big earthquake hit on Sunday, July 22.
The suburb is one of several in the Kapi- Mana area working with the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office on a local civil defence plan.
Titahi Bay is also going through the process and locals attended their latest meeting last Tuesday evening.
A group that included representatives from police, fire, the emergency management office and local organisations gathered to discuss what they would do following a disaster.
For many it was the first chance they had to reflect on the quake.
Resident Judy Tuck said she had to comfort crying strangers in the local Countdown store.
Titahi Bay is the second Pori- rua community to work with the emergency management office on a civil defence plan.
Pukerua Bay already has a plan, and Plimmerton has just started the process.
Rebecca Jackson, the emergency management office’s adviser, said communities needed a strategy for the three days after a disaster, when they could be cut off.
‘‘All you have to do is go to the supermarket over the last few days to see the empty shelves of water and tinned food. It shows how unprepared people were,’’ she said.
Paula Birnie, from the Titahi Bay Community Trust, said locals needed to know what to do after a disaster.
She said a survey of residents following the June storm showed a lack of preparedness and a need for good communication.
At the Titahi Bay meeting people discussed what to do with victims’ bodies and abandoned animals, and how to access food and water.
Trevor Farmer, PoriruaKapiti’s emergency management office co-ordinator, said people needed to be self-sufficient and not rely on immediate support.
‘‘ It’s about what the community is going to do for itself,’’ he said.
‘‘For six, 12, 24 hours they need to be self-sufficient.’’
The Titahi Bay group will continue meeting and aim to have a plan in all households by the end of September.
Pukerua Bay locals used their ‘‘ telephone tree’’ to check if neighbours were safe after the earthquake.
A telephone tree involves neighbours ringing those on a co-ordinated list to make sure everybody is safe.
Mr Farmer said the Ascot Park, Whitby and Pauatahanui communities have expressed interest in putting emergency plans together.