Emer­gency of­fice crit­i­cised

Train­ing not wide enough

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TESSA JOHNSTONE

The re­gional emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice is putting the fu­ture of skilled com­mu­nity re­sponse teams at risk, a Porirua civil de­fence co­or­di­na­tor has said.

Robyn Moore, a Porirua Emer­gency Re­sponse Team vol­un­teer, has asked Porirua City Coun­cil to re­view the way money for re­gional emer­gency man­age­ment is shared be­cause of con­cern lo­cal vol­un­teers are miss­ing out on vi­tal train­ing and re­sources.

‘‘If we con­tinue the way we’re go­ing, we won’t have a re­sponse team,’’ Moore told coun­cil­lors at draft an­nual plan hear­ings last Mon­day.

Since the Welling­ton Re­gional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice was es­tab­lished in 2012, the coun­cil has con­trib­uted about $200,000 a year to the of­fice.

Moore said since the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice took over there was less train­ing avail­able for com­mu­nity vol­un­teers, par­tic­u­larly ex­pert train­ing, and no fund­ing for gear, which is putting the team at risk.

‘‘ We’ve got less to of­fer [vol­un­teers]. We can’t of­fer them ground-based train­ing, we can’t of­fer them ropes ex­er­cise work, we can’t ac­cess ex­pert knowl­edge any more.’’

Moore said the team had been called to sup­port in emer­gen­cies like the Fe­bru­ary 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and hav­ing train­ing such as pre- hospi­tal emer­gency care and know­ing how to work to­gether as a team was in­valu­able.

‘‘When emer­gency ser­vices are overwhelmed there is a real need for these types of re­sponse teams. In Christchurch, I ab­so­lutely saw the need to use them. We’re not be­ing sup­ported any more.’’

Moore is also co-or­di­na­tor of the Pukerua Bay Civil De­fence and Com­mu­nity Re­sponse Team and said com­mu­ni­ca­tion has fallen down more than once since the re­gional emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice was set up.

A ra­dio sys­tem used by the team in emer­gen­cies has been kept at the lo­cal school since 2009, but was shifted to a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion on the grounds by the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice, though Moore said only one vol­un­teer was told of its new lo­ca­tion and had a key to ac­cess it.

Bruce Pepperell, Welling­ton Re­gional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice man­ager, said the ra­dio was shifted be­fore his or­gan­i­sa­tion was es­tab­lished and that teams still had ac­cess to core train­ing.

Recog­nised New Zealand re­sponse teams had ac­cess to train­ing such as res­cue at height or ground-based res­cue, but the Porirua team was not one of them, Pepperell said.

He said the Porirua team was sup­ported by city coun­cil to train to an ur­ban search and res­cue stan­dard, but he did not see the point in giv­ing teams specialist med­i­cal train­ing.

‘‘There is lit­tle point in civil de­fence spon­sor­ing specialist med­i­cal train­ing where it re­quires reg­u­lar main­te­nance to re­main cur­rent.

‘‘ People who de­sire more specialist med­i­cal sup­port train­ing are bet­ter off join­ing ei­ther Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance or St John.’’

He said the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice had logged some sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments since its es­tab­lish­ment, and change was an op­por­tu­nity to re­think the way things were done.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Staunch de­fence: Welling­ton Re­gional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice man­ager Bruce Pepperell says his of­fice has logged some sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments.

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