News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Ready for an emergency


Media Release

Date: November 8, 2012

Ready for an emergency

Trevor Ecclestone co-ordinates Waikato District Health Board’s emergency management planning – and there have been plenty of real-event tests to make sure the plans work.

Trevor is manager – emergency management planning. When an event occurs the DHB, hospitals and services have plans and people in place to deal with them.

“It’s our teams who co-ordinate the response,” Trevor says.

He’s seen the plans and people stand up when major events have hit the region. One of the biggest was the 2008 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, when the DHB Incident Management Team was in response mode for three months. “That was a really good test of our Health Emergency Plan (HEP) and the Incident Management team.”

There have been plenty of other events in recent years too, like Waikato DHB’s response to the Christchurch earthquake, the 2008 Tamahere coolstore fire, a measles outbreak, and hospital-specific problems like a power outage and the Conficker computer virus.

“Training and planning for teams to be ready means when there is a major event we hit the ground running,” Trevor says.

“If something happens ¬– a pandemic, a natural disaster or major accident – there are a lot of good people who know what to do and how to respond.
“We are ready to go. It’s not like having to start from scratch: there are plans, systems and teams of people who know how to respond. That’s what emergency management planning is all about.”

Emergency planning is a long way from where Trevor started at the DHB – “scrubbing pots in the kitchen” as a school leaver. He moved on to be an orderly and then managing a staff of 130, until in 2005 he took over his current role.

He recently updated the DHB’s Health Emergency Plan which links essential primary, secondary, tertiary, mental health, disability support, public health services and the DHB Incident Management Team which will respond during emergency situations.

The DHB also links its planning into a Midlands region health emergency plan for Midlands DHBs, and the national health emergency plan overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Trevor says the HEP provides for an all-hazard approach to managing in emergencies. They can come in all shapes and sizes.

The plan is built around the four Rs of emergency planning – reduction, readiness, response, and recovery.

“The aim is to have plans and teams ready for any event or threat that would disrupt us, providing business as usual,” he says.

The reduction phase might involve, for example, encouraging flu vaccinations to limit the possibility of overwhelming health services in a pandemic situation.

Being ready means having plans and training systems in place to deal with a major event. Trained teams, job cards and tasks have been drafted and are ready to be used.

Response time is co-ordinating the health response and using the Co-ordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) which is used by all emergency services, including health.

Recovery is also tied to the CIMS model and can be a long-term part of the cycle.

The overarching goal of the Waikato DHB emergency planning service is ‘‘resilient health services in the Waikato DHB area”.

“A health emergency could be anything that is a serious threat to the health status of the community. It could be when a nearby DHB is overwhelmed and requires regional support.’’

While key regional hazards have been identified, the DHB has to be ready for whatever is thrown at it, including animal epidemic, earthquake, tsunami, rural fire, human pandemic, major transport accident, flooding or severe storm.

“We have also identified infrastructure/utility failures as significant risk to service,” Trevor says.

Emergency response could involve public health issues (water quality, epidemic), building failure, failure of electricity, gas, water, sewerage and telephone services, failure of critical supplies or transport networks, isolation of patients and staff. Usual providers like rest homes, pharmacists and GPs could be requiring or providing support.

“Getting response, information and communications to the public, service providers and our teams DHB-area wide can be difficult in emergency situations. We all have great technology nowadays but when these aren’t working we must return to the basics.

“Listen to the radio for the most up-to-date information and health-related messages.”

Trevor works closely with the emergency services and the Waikato Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group which incorporates all agencies involved in disaster preparedness and response. “One of the biggest lessons from large events is that those responding agencies that know each other, network, meet regularly and train together can achieve better outcomes than those that don’t know each other well.”

So if you see Trevor in a coffee shop with someone from emergency services … he’s working.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news