Know what to do in an emer­gency in the area

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

Bay of Plenty Civil De­fence wants Waihi Beach res­i­dents to be fa­mil­iar with the Com­mu­nity Guide to Emer­gen­cies.

Newly-ap­pointed Emer­gency Man­age­ment and Com­mu­nity Re­silience Ad­vi­sor at Emer­gency Man­age­ment Bay of Plenty Theo Ur­sum says that Waihi Beach has no short­age of cham­pi­ons ready to roll up their sleeves and get or­gan­ised, but they are al­ways look­ing for more peo­ple to sup­port the team.

“We have a good team down there but a cou­ple more vol­un­teers are wel­come,” he said.

The Waihi Beach Com­mu­nity Re­sponse Plan for an emer­gency was de­vel­oped by the Waihi Beach Com­mu­nity Team in con­junc­tion with Civil De­fence.

Made up of vol­un­teers, the Com­mu­nity Re­sponse team has cre­ated a Guide to Emer­gen­cies, which cov­ers how the com­mu­nity plans to self-ac­ti­vate and re­spond in the ini­tial stages of a large scale emer­gency — pri­mar­ily for the first 72 hours. The leaflet maps tsunami evac­u­a­tion zones through­out Waihi Beach, Athen­ree and Bowen­town and pro­vides ba­sic guide­lines to fol­low in case of a nat­u­ral disas­ter.

“Re­sponse teams led and made up of lo­cal peo­ple are the best strat­egy in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of an emer­gency or disas­ter be­cause of their lo­cal knowl­edge and so­cial net­works,” Mr Ur­sum says.

He joined Emer­gency Man­age­ment Bay of Plenty last month, having been gen­eral man­ager of Vol­un­teer­ing Bay of Plenty for al­most five years.

He says Waihi Beach is a highly proac­tive com­mu­nity.

“It’s great to be work­ing such an en­gaged com­mu­nity. Like many com­mu­ni­ties in the Bay of Plenty, it is vul­ner­a­ble to a num­ber of risks and it’s im­por­tant these are con­sid­ered, planned and pre­pared for. I en­cour­age ev­ery­one to be­come fa­mil­iar with this plan,” he says.

When com­pleted, the guides are signed off by the West­ern Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil and re­viewed an­nu­ally.

He will also be re­view­ing ex­ist­ing plans, up­dat­ing them and help­ing put new plans in place to cre­ate a district-wide frame­work for emer­gency re­sponse.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED.

Emer­gency man­age­ment and com­mu­nity re­silience ad­vi­sor Theo Ur­sum.

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