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Eruption training exercise goes well

Ruapehu Emergency Management Officer Nick Watson said that last week’s multi-agency training exercise based around a major eruption on Mt Ruapehu went well.
"In terms of people and organisations taking part it was probably the largest emergency response training exercise we have run so far," he said.

Council had a number of staff who had never taken part in a civil defence training exercise before.
Exercises such as this are critical to introducing people to what a real emergency response looks and feels like.

"The exercise delivered exactly what we wanted in providing a good test of our people and systems.

In addition to all our usual Ruapehu based participants we had a number of people from various organisations outside our Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) area taking part.

Council also had a number of new staff who had never been involved in anything like this before so was a big learning curve for them.

All these factors together can really put the pressure on but this is the whole point of why we do it.

At the end of the day we held a ‘hot debrief’ which provided peoples immediate thoughts on how things went and ideas to think about.

We are holding an interagency debrief next week and Council staff are providing more detailed thoughts and comments on how things went for them."

Mr Watson said that there are always areas for improvement identified from an exercise such as this.

"People should have every confidence however that if we had a real emergency event tomorrow (or today) Council with our partner agencies and organisations are well placed to respond like we have done in the past.

The next major exercise of this size won’t be until next year but we hold smaller training sessions in the interim which includes sending staff on professional development courses."

Mr Watson added that this was also a timely opportunity to remind people about ensuring they have a Household Emergency Checklist and Plan.

"In a major emergency people should be in a position to look after themselves and their loved ones for at least three days or more.

Go to www.getthru.govt.nz for all the info you need to help you and your whanau survive a major event," he said.

© Scoop Media

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