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Emphasis on readiness in emergency management

News Release - for immediate use

Emphasis on readiness in emergency management

November 17, 2003

North Shore City Mayor George Wood has again stressed the importance of the motto "be prepared'" when it comes to civil defence emergency management.

The mayor was commenting after attending a successful emergency management exercise held at the city's East Coast Rd Civil Defence headquarters last Friday (November 14).

Nearly 50 council, police and fire department staff and volunteers attended the exercise, called 'Operation Medusa', designed to test a wide range of emergency management systems and to train and refresh those involved.

It was based on a scenario in which a tropical cyclone brought winds gusting to 250 kph and heavy rain to the Auckland region, causing severe damage to buildings, flooding, power and water supply failures, injuries and deaths.

Mr Wood says every citizen is encouraged to prepare for an emergency by doing as much as they can for themselves. They should have ready water and food for at least 24 hours, warm clothes, a radio and torch, spare batteries - and know to listen to the radio for information.

"North Shore City Council is taking seriously its responsibilities when it comes to emergency management - but we need to recognise that the most likely emergency scenarios for Auckland involve storm damage, then the failure of services such as power, telecommunications and road networks.

"Our citizens need to be prepared for these events as best they can. If there's a really serious event, then the most pressing jobs need to be done first, whether it's restoring power or treating the severely injured. Others who may be affected in less dramatic ways are best to stay put and be prepared to fend for themselves," says Mr Wood.

The mayor, a former police commander, will attend an Urban Search and Rescue Task Force exercise in Palmerston North this week as an observer. The exercise will test the skills of the newly formed rapid response and rescue teams.


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