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Quick-Fire Response From Civil Defence Volunteers

18 October 2004

'Quick-Fire' Response From Civil Defence Volunteers

Getting across town in peak hour traffic proved no barrier to answering a call for duty for some of Manukau City's Civil Defence volunteers last week.

The volunteers from eight of the City's Civil Defence Welfare Teams were taking part in a "cold start" exercise. Unlike previous exercises where they were given prior notice, for this emergency they were unaware of when, where or to what sort of scenario they would be responding to.

The exercise involved a scenario whereby a bush fire had taken hold at the Whitford Forest and homes bordering the forest needed to be evacuated to the local Whitford Hall. Volunteers had to make their way to Whitford during peak hour traffic, as the exercise took place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 13th October.

Manukau City Council's Civil Defence Officer, Judy Fowler is delighted with the response from the volunteers. "The first call to our CD volunteers put out over our radio network resulted in three positive responses. The remaining calls were done by CD staff over the telephone.

"Within ten minutes of our first phone call, one volunteer had arrived at the Hall, three within twenty minutes and a total of eighteen CD staff within an hour and half.

"By 7.15pm, under two hours since our first call out, the little country hall was alive with activity - all evacuees had been accounted for and were being registered, tables and chairs had been set out, and a hot dinner was on the table ready to be served.

"I was really nervous before the event as this was the first "cold start" I had run in my 14 years with Civil Defence but I was blown away by our volunteers 'quick-fire' response. Well done to all of them."

Volunteers who attended the call out included:

"7 Red Cross staff " 2 Amateur Radio Emergency Communication staff " 18 CD volunteer staff " 25 evacuees

Judy Fowler intends to run future exercises using the "cold start" method, with more realism added to the scenarios each year. For more information on Manukau City's Civil Defence contact Judy on 262 8916.


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