10 Rotorua Weekender Jul 3, 2020 dailypost.co.nz | Simulated spill brings fast action Response team, staff race against clock A training exercise simulating a chemical spill in Rotorua’s Utuhina Stream has allowed Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s incident response team and staff from Mcalpines Rotorua Limited to test their skills and ensure everyone is equipped to protect the environment. The recent training exercise in Rotorua simulated a corrosive liquid spill from a delivery tanker with the imminent risk of chemicals entering the stormwater drain which flows to the Utuhina Stream. Mcalpines staff raced against the clock to ensure the spill was contained as quickly as possible, activating recovery pumps and site alarms, notifying the Pollution Hotline and site manager, blocking the drains, and diluting the fake chemicals. Regulatory Compliance officers were called in to assess the environmental impacts, investigate the incident and how it was handled, then lead a debriefing session. Regional Council Urban, Industry & Response team leader Chris Brewer says by partnering with a local manufacturing business both teams were able to practice their emergency response, health and safety and best practice approaches in context of a potentially polluting incident. “It was also a great opportunity for newer members of the Regulatory Compliance team to put their incident response and investigative skills into practice. “We’re really pleased with how the training went and look forward to working with other businesses as opportunities arise,” Chris says. The Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline received 377 calls relating to discharges to rivers and streams over the past 12 months across the Bay of Plenty Region. “This equates to 10 per cent of all calls received through the Hotline and this spill training was an excellent example of how to mitigate and manage these environmental risks,” Chris says. Photo / Supplied Photo / File Police put out safety reminders for kids and property over hols With the winter school holidays now upon us, the Rotorua police have a number of messages to remind people of. Rotorua Police community and school community supervisor Sergeant Lea Framp says we are all responsible for keeping children safe in our families and communities, especially in the school holidays. “It’s also important for children to know how to identify unsafe behaviour and what to do if they feel unsafe at home, and also if they are playing in their neighbourhoods. “They should tell an adult if they feel unsafe or call 111 in an emergency.” She says children under the age of 14 should not be left at home alone and need to have a caregiver with them (who is over 14 years old). “Remind children not to answer the door for someone you don’t know or don’t want in your home. Ask for identification if they say they represent a company. If you’re outside for an extended time, e.g. in the garden, lock your front door”. Lea says there’s likely to be more use of the internet while kids are on their holidays, so it’s important to keep kids safe online too. “You could make sure that you install software on your computer which either blocks restricted content so your children cannot access certain sites, or monitors activity so that you can review online behaviour and know who your children are making contact with online. “If they are not your children’s actual friends then question their cyber friendship.” Netsafe has more information on this at www.netsafe.org.nz. “It’s also timely to remind people about keeping their property safe. Here are some simple steps you can take to make your home and property as safe as possible. “Always lock your car, motorbike, bicycle or other vehicles. “A car alarm, steering lock, or good quality chains are extra deterrents too. Ideally keep all vehicles in a garage or out of sight. “Don’t provide places for burglars to hide near your house — keep bushes and trees trimmed. “Keep valuables out of sight — if it can be seen, it could be stolen. This includes your car or your home. Secure your doors, windows, sheds and garages with good quality locks. Install security stays on windows, especially those on ground level.” Lea says the school holidays may also be the best time to set up a neighbourhood support group if you haven’t got one. i Check for more details — www.neighbourhoodsupport. co.nz, 0800 4 NEIGHBOURS. 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