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Exercise Pacific Wave to hit Auckland Region

Auckland Region Civil Defence & Emergency Management Group

Friday 12 May 2006

Exercise Pacific Wave to hit Auckland Region

The Auckland region will take part in a Pacific-wide exercise on Wednesday 17 May to test the region’s preparedness to cope if a tsunami were to hit New Zealand.

Exercise Pacific Wave has been designed to increase preparedness, exercise warning arrangements in Pacific countries and improve coordination throughout the Pacific. The exercise will begin with a simulated warning of an approaching tsunami from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii.

Auckland Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Chairman Neil Morrison says that Civil Defence groups from around the country will be taking part in the exercise.

“Based on national procedures, the National Crisis Management Centre will receive an alert from the PTWC and alert the regional and local Emergency Operations Centres who will then activate their emergency procedures. There will be no actual public warnings or evacuations but we do want the public to be aware that we are conducting an exercise,” he says.

“The earthquake that occurred near Tonga a few weeks ago sparked a lot of interest in tsunami and the region’s Civil Defence preparedness so this exercise is very timely. It will help us to assess how we receive and respond to information from other agencies.

“We will also be looking at how effective our current processes for issuing warnings to people across the region really are.

Cr Morrison says that while Civil Defence uses this exercise to test its preparedness, the public should also think about preparing themselves for an emergency.

“Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared can make a real difference in an emergency. Having an emergency survival kit, a getaway kit and an emergency plan is extremely important as you could be on your own for up to three days without necessities like drinking water and electricity,” he says.

Some simple steps to help minimise the impact of a disaster and help people cope are:
- Read the back of the Yellow Pages. There is a significant amount of helpful information about emergencies.
- Have a ‘B Ready’ kit ready, which includes key survival equipment (e.g. radio and batteries, torch, water – three litres per person/day, food). More information is available online at www.cdemg.org.nz or by phoning 0800 22 22 00.
- Know your hazards and plan to avoid them (e.g. falling objects, loss of water and power, evacuating your home). More information is available online at www.arc.govt.nz/environment/hazards.
- In an emergency, listen to the radio for information and make sure you and your home are safe.

“While it is Civil Defence’s job to co-ordinate all activity when a disaster hits, the region’s preparedness relies heavily on how prepared individuals, families and communities are. Emergency management is everyone’s business.”


Note to editors:

All countries in the Pacific have been invited to participate in Exercise Pacific Wave. Further information about the international task team representatives can be found on the International Tsunami Information Centre website www.tsunamiwave.info

Important information about Exercise Pacific Wave:
- There will be no actual public warnings or evacuations
- Further information about Exercise Pacific Wave 06 can be found on UNESCO’s International Tsunami Information Centre website www.tsunamiwave.info

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