Earthquakes a wake-up call
The earthquakes that have shaken Marlborough this month are a wake-up call for people to be prepared for disaster to strike at any time, says the Marlborough Emergency Management Group.
Marlborough Civil Defence chairman of the co-ordinating executive group, Mark Wheeler, said the Marlborough Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group had a plan in place.
The CDEM Group Plan 2011-16 was approved in November last year, and was developed after consultation with Marlborough experts on natural hazards, emergency services, the Ministry of Civil Defence and the public.
Emergency services were usually the first to respond when a disaster struck, Mr Wheeler said. Information was then filtered to Civil Defence, which put a response plan in place.
The Civil Defence emergency team, including management, logistics, intelligence and operational people, met at the Wither Rd extension headquarters, which had radios, computers and maps, Mr Wheeler said.
Civil Defence was a way of organising and co-ordinating big events where multiple agencies were involved, he said.
"You've got the council fixing sewers and roading, the Fire Service dealing with buildings, police are making sure everyone is safe and putting up cordons. It pulls everyone together."
The first thing to do if a disaster hit was to look after yourself and your family, Mr Wheeler said.
If there was an earthquake, people should follow the "drop, cover and hold" drill and call 111, not Civil Defence.
They should listen to the radio for information and instructions, and evacuate buildings if they were unsafe.
Experts did not think there was a tsunami risk for the Marlborough coast, but a siren would sound if there was a risk at Rarangi, he said.
"If there is a tsunami warning, head for higher ground – the higher the better."
The extensive disaster plan was a continual process, Mr Wheeler said.
"We came in pretty well in the last review. There's a lot in place, but we always need more.
"We have quite a high earthquake risk here in Blenheim, so you just never know."
- The Marlborough Express