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

 

Memorabilia: Te Papa Buys Peter Snell Singlet

Te Papa has purchased the singlet worn by Peter Snell at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics at an auction this morning at Cordy’s auction house in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Women At The Centre

In the first chapter of her epic History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes places a version of the Māori creation story alongside that of the Pākehā colonists, setting the scene for how each society saw women. The contrast is startling. More>>

In Auckland Art Gallery: A Tour Of Duty

I had already started my journey through the exhibited collections when an audio announcement about a guided tour to embark shortly from the foyer was made, I decided to join in. Why not? More>>

Art: ‘Holiday’ Wins IHC Art Awards

An intricate embroidered cushion by Wellington artist Jo-Anne Tapiki has won the 2016 IHC Art Awards and $5000. Jo-Anne started working from IHC’s Arts on High studio in Lower Hutt 18 months ago and this is the first time she has entered the competition. More>>

‘Quasi’: Christchurch Art Gallery Reveals Rooftop Sculpture

Christchurch-born and internationally renowned artist Ronnie van Hout has had a huge hand in Christchurch Art Gallery's latest outdoor installation. More>>

Obituary: Last 28th Maori Battalion A Company Veteran Dies

Charlie Petera, the final surviving member of A-Company of the 28th Maori Battalion has died at his home in Ngataki, Northland last night surrounded by his whanau. He was 91 years old. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news