Emergency centre boosts response

Last updated 13:00 21/02/2014

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A new emergency operations centre in Richmond will deliver a faster response during natural disasters, say civil defence leaders.

The Nelson Tasman emergency management group's four staff have moved into the region's strongest building. The fit-out is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

"We will be doing an exercise or two to make sure it's all go and then we hope we never have to use it," said Nelson Tasman Civil Defence group controller Jim Frater.

But with a succession of major floods in the region in recent years, and the experience of the Canterbury and Seddon earthquakes, the centre staff are preparing for all eventualities.

Mr Frater said a national Civil Defence review several years ago highlighted the need for the region to have a dedicated operations centre. In previous emergencies staff have used the Tasman District and Nelson City Council chambers, but it could take up to an hour to get them fully set up.

"With this centre we just turn up and are ready to go.

"It means we can start monitoring a lot faster and we can get the response going and provide assistance a lot earlier."

The leased centre is based in the ground floor of the two-storey Oxford St building, constructed and owned by Christchurch developers Fawdan Subdivisions. Its seismic capability is rated at level four, which means it can remain operational after a large earthquake.

The two councils budgeted $150,000 each in capital spending on the project, and up to $90,000 a year on operational costs.

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- The Nelson Mail

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