Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Study shows the reality for “vital” quake responders

OU Media Release

Study shows the reality for “vital” Christchurch quake responders

Friday 23 November 2012

Front-line rescue workers in Christchurch put their own needs and those of their families to one side to play a vital role during the Christchurch earthquakes and aftershocks, early results from a study into the occupational health of 600 emergency workers shows.

Some preliminary findings from the joint University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine and AUT University study of 600 frontline workers in Christchurch have been released today as a result of recent review processes that have been critical of the emergency response.

The researchers, who spoke to many of these workers, say they took this unusual step (the study is not due to be completed until 2015) because they are concerned that the representation of these workers has been narrow, at times lacking perspective, and potentially undermining for people who respond in emergencies.

“Front line workers in Christchurch and those who flew in to assist them faced risks and challenging circumstances. All of the participants in our study did their very best and employed skills that saved lives. This should be acknowledged and remembered,” says Associate Professor David McBride, the principal investigator from Otago.

Otago researcher Dr Kirsten Lovelock, a senior research fellow and co-investigator from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, has met many of these workers.

“All of the workers I spoke to not only responded to the best of their ability and within the very real constraints posed by this natural disaster, but our preliminary results make it clear they also experienced what we call dual jeopardy,” she says.

“Many had no time to contact their own families, lost their homes and their workplaces, had family and friends who were injured and are still experiencing a range of issues just as many other people in Christchurch are.

“Despite this, these workers continued to respond - working and helping others in the days, months and weeks that have followed and in addition to their quake-related response they also continued and continue to respond to a range of daily emergencies.”

She adds that frontline workers are vulnerable to a range of occupational health conditions related to the risks they face in their daily working lives and responding in times of disaster is known to impact on the health of these workers.

“It would be a shame if criticism with the benefit of hindsight spurred by a desire to “make things better” was to overshadow what these workers did achieve under very challenging circumstances or worse undermine those who performed vital services during this time,” says Dr Lovelock.

“While it is important to consider how things can be improved it is also very important to remember this was a natural disaster and front line workers worked very hard to help people under very difficult circumstances.”

The study began last November (2011) and is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand in partnership with the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news