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Council staff support Civil Defence

Council staff support Civil Defence
November 14, 2005

North Shore City Council staff have shown their practical support for Civil Defence by taking part in training exercise Reliant.

Last Friday staff used skills they learned over the year to run the emergency operations centre - with a cyclone on its way.

Council employees have always been encouraged to take part in training offered by North Shore Civil Defence, says deputy mayor Dianne Hale.

"Being prepared in the case of an emergency is everyone's responsibility, and our staff have been keen to do the training, which complements that of the huge volunteer network," she says.

"In the event of an emergency the council is often a lifeline - we not only look after the infrastructure such as roads, but also the welfare of our 210,000 residents."

During exercise Reliant more than 70 council staff used their liaison, control and planning training to prepare for cyclone Katrina.

Winds had reached up to 250kph, and the cyclone was expected to reach the Auckland region within 24 hours.

Procedures before, during and after the event to ensure the safety of residents, prioritise repair work and reinstate services were all practised.

North Shore Civil Defence manager and exercise Reliant controller, David Keay, says it was an excellent way to give people experience of their role in the event of an emergency.

"Putting what they've learned into practice is what brings the training people have had to life and gives them confidence to deal with a real-life situation," he says.

"Everyone from the operations, welfare, volunteer management, public information, logistics, essential services and information/intelligence teams did a great job. As a result we are much better prepared for an actual event."

Another North Shore Civil Defence exercise, for other volunteers, was held on Saturday night. The Initial Response Unit practised an evacuation at the derelict Southdown Freezing Works, and on November 24 a local rest home will be evacuated to the Beach Haven Civil Defence Welfare Centre.

There are nearly 500 volunteers who help prepare the city for disaster and give support during an emergency, but more are always needed. To find out more about becoming a volunteer, please call North Shore Civil Defence on 478 9696, or visit www.northshorecity.govt.nz.

ENDS

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