When dis­as­ter strikes . . .

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

Com­mu­nity lead­ers pre­pared to step up in an emer­gency are be­ing asked to sort out a re­sponse plan for their neigh­bour­hood.

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil civil de­fence emer­gency di­rec­tor Ian Wellings said neigh­bour­hoods all over the coun­try are be­ing asked to sort out a plan of ac­tion in case dis­as­ter strikes.

He said there is only one com­mu­nity in the South Waikato that has cre­ated a plan – around the Ta­papa, Oko­roire Hall area.

‘‘If some­thing hap­pened they would know what to do, but we want to ex­pand that out.’’

The plans in­clude tele­phone num­bers of neigh­bours, meet­ing points and plans if emer­gency ser­vices are un­able to reach res­i­dents in a timely fash­ion.

Wellings said in a per­fect world the South Waikato would have hun­dreds of small com­mu­ni­ties with their own plans.

‘‘It’s led by the com­mu­nity . . . so there is a call for com­mu­nity lead­ers.’’

The na­tion­wide project started about four years ago but was put on hold while proper plan­ning took place. Wellings said they are now mod­el­ling sys­tems that have been put in place in the Kaipara dis­trict.

‘‘ From our per­spec­tive it’s about lead­ers in the com­mu­nity stand­ing up and say­ing ‘yes, I’ll head this’.’’

He said there are al­ready groups in Toko­roa op­er­at­ing a sim­i­lar thing, the coun­cil just needs it to be of­fi­cial.

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