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

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news