Initial quake response 'sound' - report
Emergency services were ''well-managed and effective'' in their response to the February 22, 2011 earthquake, a report has found.
However, some aspects ''could be done better in future'', it said, including co-operation between local authorities and emergency services.
The Government commissioned an independent review of emergency services' performance following the disaster to identify what lessons were learnt.
- the initial response strategy was sound
- emergency services responded rapidly and worked together well
- private utility providers and Christchurch City Council were well prepared and responded well from a lifelines perspective
- technical aspects of inspecting damaged buildings were performed well
- the decision to provide a subsidy for wages was highly effective and successful.
''Overall, the response to this extremely challenging situation can justifiably be regarded as having been well managed and effective,'' the report concluded.
''The response went well, but some aspects could be done better in future. What the review learnt of the strengths and weaknesses of the response can be applied to help cities in New Zealand even more vulnerable to major disasters than is Christchurch.''
The report made 108 recommendations involving work across central and local government agencies.
Major recommendations to be adopted are:
- continue to work with all 16 regional [Civil Defence Emergency Management] groups to assist with strengthening local response arrangements.
- explore options for the availability of suitably experienced emergency managers to support response operations in large-scale emergencies
- review its guidelines and promote better connection between the official emergency response and community organisations.
- review its guidelines and ensure higher priority is given to preserving businesses and jobs after an emergency.
- remain a business unit in the Department of Internal Affairs.
- continue to promote a culture of preparedness for emergencies among individuals, families and organisations in all sectors.
CDEM director John Hamilton said a recommendation that local authorities, such as Christchurch City Council, no longer have the power to control emergency responses would not be adopted.
Instead, he would work on strengthening councils' role in emergency responses.
Civil Defence Minister Chris Tremain said the review showed emergency services worked well overall.
''There is always room for improvement and the report identifies some issues that need attention. These include management and control of the response, and gaps in training, capability and communications.''
The Government had already adopted four of the six major recommendations and a plan to implement the rest was due in November.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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