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Team prepared for disasters

DIANA WORTHY
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014
Red Cross
PRACTICAL EXCERCISE: Red Cross team member Laurie Leonard, left, KN director Roan Gouws, and Red Cross members Alan Stamp, Maria Clarke-Karaka and patient Anne Johnson prepare a rescue stretcher that allows people to be transported up and down steep inclines.

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Volunteers have been quietly preparing for disaster while the island has been dealing with a busy summer.

Members of the island's Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support team are now equipped and able to set up emergency centres and give first aid should a Civil Defence emergency strike on Waiheke - or anywhere else in the country.

"If a tornado hits Albany, we're ready to go and help," member Laurie Leonard says.

KN Training & Development director Roan Gouws and co-ordinator Minandi von Ludwig have been holding regular training sessions at the Red Cross building in Oneroa for several months.

"We are preparing them for any natural or manmade disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, tsunami, volcano eruptions, bush fires and land slips," Mr Gouws says.

"The Red Cross team will either be deployed as a stand alone team or they'll be working with other agencies."

Waiheke Island has experienced three tsunami warnings within the last five years. They were on September 30, 2009, February 28, 2010 and July 7, 2011.

In January 2011, the tail end of tropical cyclone Wilma caused major landslides, floods and property damage across the island and caused an iconic bach at the end of Onetangi Beach to lose its foundations.

Two residents managed to escape just before the cottage collapsed down the cliff.

Mrs Leonard says they will do as they are told by Auckland Emergency Civil Defence in the event of the next emergency.

She expects the work to focus on opening up community halls and organising them as muster stations and welfare centres once any alert goes out.

She says they will be responsible for registering survivors so families can find each other and organising welfare arrangements such as accommodation.

"The medical centre here would open straight away. We're also first aid trained and we'd do triage after setting up a treatment centre.

"What we're facing is that we could be isolated."

Mrs Leonard says the team is always looking for new members and interested residents can call her on 372 7751.

Go to aucklandcivildefence. org.nz to find out more about natural and manmade hazards and to sign up for Civil Defence alerts.

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