Ready for a disaster
In the race to get ready and get through in a disaster, Conifer Grove is ahead of the pack.
The community has developed its own Civil Defence neighbourhood response plan.
Conifer Grove is bounded by the Manukau Harbour on three sides so you'd expect the major risk to be a tsunami.
But it's more likely to be wind that causes problems, says Kevin Everitt, who chairs the Conifer Grove Emergency Response Group.
The Manukau Golf Course has numerous tall trees and being near the water means high winds are common.
A recent storm caused damage to several roofs and about a dozen trees came down.
Surprisingly, the risk of a tsunami coming from the Waitemata Harbour across the lowlands of Alfriston and Takanini could be higher than one coming from the west.
It's details like these that the emergency response group has been hashing out over the past year and they've produced "one of the most detailed reports that Civil Defence Manukau have seen", Mr Everitt says.
Problems from flooding and high waves to communicable diseases have been considered and the group has options for access in the unlikely event that the bridge on Walter Strevens Dr goes down.
Mr Everitt says the group doesn't want to overstate the risks - "they're just things to be mindful of" - but because disasters are unpredictable "you need to have a pocketful of options".
"It's about being a little bit organised and having a channel to communicate through - knowing where to go, where not to go."
The Auckland Council expects communities to devise their own response plans with the help of Civil Defence.
Mr Everitt reckons Conifer Grove got moving quickly because it has a "settled maturity" with many long-term residents who are good at getting things done.
The 70-odd people on Conifer Grove's Civil Defence contact tree are the type who "know their street or their patch reasonably well" and can get around and chat to their neighbours.
Papakura Local Board member Caroline Conroy and Civil Defence is drumming up interest in the development of emergency response plans for the rest of Papakura, with pamphlet drops in Rosehill, Papakura East and Drury.
Anyone interested in developing a plan for their area can contact Ms Conroy on 298 5945 or Civil Defence's Craig Bosson on 261 8871.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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