Look­ing for cham­pi­ons in a cri­sis

Te Puke Times - - NEWS -

Cham­pi­ons to help in a cri­sis are the pieces of gold be­ing sought in West­ern Bay com­mu­ni­ties by newly ap­pointed emer­gency man­age­ment and com­mu­nity re­silience ad­viser Theo Ur­sum.

Theo will be can­vass­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the West­ern Bay, in­clud­ing Puke­hina, Maketu¯ and Waihi Beach, to find “com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons” — peo­ple keen to take the lead in help­ing de­velop com­mu­nity re­sponse plans for use in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter or emer­gency.

Theo joined Emer­gency Man­age­ment Bay of Plenty in Au­gust, hav­ing been gen­eral man­ager of Vol­un­teer­ing Bay of Plenty for al­most five years.

He is keen to put his organisational skills to work to cre­ate a re­sponse frame­work in each com­mu­nity that would en­able peo­ple to be self-sus­tain­ing in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math (up to three days) of an emer­gency event.

“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,” says Theo.

“I am look­ing for com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons — in­di­vid­u­als who are pre­pared to take the lead and help pull vol­un­teers to­gether — so that we have these com­mu­nity re­sponse teams ready to help oth­ers in times of need.

“This com­mu­nity-driven re­sponse plan is owned and de­vel­oped by the com­mu­nity; it is not im­posed by the lo­cal coun­cil or civil de­fence,” says Theo.

“With my guid­ance, these plans will be de­vel­oped by peo­ple — stake­hold­ers and or­gan­i­sa­tions — from within the com­mu­nity. But own­er­ship of the plan stays with each com­mu­nity, rep­re­sented by the stake­holder group.”

The fi­nal draft of the com­mu­nity plan will be pre­sented at a pub­lic meet­ing. Once fi­nalised, the doc­u­ment will be signed off by the West­ern Bay mayor and re­viewed an­nu­ally.

Theo’s work in West­ern Bay builds on emer­gency man­age­ment prepa­ra­tion al­ready in place, such as groups of civil de­fence vol­un­teers and Com­mu­nity Re­sponse Plans.

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

Any­one in­ter­ested in putting up their hands up for com­mu­nity re­sponse in­volve­ment can con­tact Theo Ur­sum email: theo.ur­sum@em­bop.govt.nz

For more in­for­ma­tion on Emer­gency Man­age­ment Bay of Plenty visit bop­civilde­fence.govt.nz or check out face­book.com/bop­civilde­fence or twit­ter.com/bop­civilde­fence

EMER­GENCY man­age­ment and com­mu­nity re­silience ad­viser Theo Ur­sum.

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