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Civil Defence exercise tests evacuation procedures


NEWS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Civil Defence exercise tests evacuation procedures

July 31, 2003

Nearly 100 people from throughout North Shore City were involved in a successful Civil Defence exercise this week, which tested how residents in a retirement village would cope with a chemical spill.

"Exercise Caustic" on Monday, July 28, involved many North Shore City health and welfare groups, and tested the procedures involving evacuation, processing, communication and medical resources. The Salvation Army provided an evening meal for all the volunteers, including 28 residents from Northbridge Retirement Village.

North Shore City Council community services and parks committee chairperson, Margaret Miles, says the exercise scenario proposed that a chemical spill forced the evacuation of the retirement village. The exercise gave an opportunity to involve and train volunteers from the Auckland University of Technology welfare centre at Northcote, Awataha Marae, Land Rover Club, Salvation Army and Civil Defence communications, Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) and Initial Response Unit (IRU), as well as a number of other volunteers.

Councillor Miles says those involved learnt a lot from the two-hour night-time exercise, which proved the organisation could cope efficiently with a real emergency.

Many of the evacuees tested procedures by role-playing - and feigned sickness and health problems from the simulated chemical leak.

North Shore City Council emergency management advisor, Rodney Dearing, says the exercise was one of a series involving the seven welfare centres throughout the city that can be made available to Civil Defence in an emergency.

He thanked all the organisations and volunteers for their professional approach, and the evacuees for their enthusiasm and willingness to take part.

For more information about emergency management people are invited to visit the North Shore Civil Defence website, www.nscd.org.nz, or call 478 9696.

(ends)

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