Port Waikato residents use emergency wine to avoid disaster
Wine might not be the the first thing you put into your emergency survival kit, but for Port Waikato residents, 'Panic Proof Pinot' was the booze on offer to entice the community to prepare for an emergency.
The rural and somewhat isolated town has created a community response team, which is responsible for coordinating the town's emergency management plan.
The group's coordinator, Karen Opie, said the boozy giveaway was to encourage people to sign up their equipment and skills on a register.
"If a very big event happened in our community, it would be quite a while before somebody got to us. We needed to be a bit self-sufficient in the event of an emergency. So, it's really just looking at what we could do in the event, just having a plan and bringing all those skills together of all the various different people within the community."
So Opie and the other members of the team located the town's paramedics, volunteer firefighters, lifeguards and other skilled people, as well as electricity generators and radios. In return, those who signed up went into a draw for the Panic Proof Pinot and Save Yourself Sauvignon.
"In emergencies like that, you don't think it's going to happen to you so it's easy to put out of your mind. If we're trying to do things every few months to keep it in people's mind then we should just do it in a fun way, so it's not all doom and gloom."
The team has spent 18 months creating their disaster plan, which includes a list of five buildings which might serve as a community response centre.
"The difficult thing we found, because you start thinking about all these different scenarios - earthquake, tsunami, floods, fire - but you can't think about all the different scenarios, you really just have to think about your options."
The population, like most coastal towns, swells in the warmer months, so the group had to prepare to accommodate extra people.
"If anything happened at the height of summer and we were cut off, we're actually catering for quite a large number of people."
The group is working with the Waikato District Council and Waikato Civil Defence team to prepare for an emergency. To do the same in your town, contact your local council.