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Equipped To Handle A Crisis

Equipped To Handle A Crisis

During a civil emergency, sometimes big really is better. As New Zealand’s largest equipment hire company with 37 branches nationwide, HireQuip was well placed to participate in the rescue and recovery operation following the tragic Christchurch earthquake of 22 February.

HireQuip’s role commenced on the day of the 6.3 magnitude shake, when the company provided immediate support to both Civil Defence and USAR. HireQuip personnel were first onsite at the PGG building with concrete breaking equipment, enabling rescuers to gain access to some of those trapped in the collapsed structure. One staff member spent the afternoon on the shattered roof, providing equipment to rescue teams who were beginning the difficult and hazardous task of locating survivors, and searching for those who had not withstood the destructive force of the earthquake.

In the days and weeks after, HireQuip maintained 24-hour contact with USAR and provided them with virtually all of the equipment they needed. This included erecting shelters and marquees at key sites like the Christchurch Cathedral, at USAR’s Latimer Square headquarters, and working with the NZ Army to accommodate more than 400 Australian police officers at Burnham Military Camp. HireQuip installed lighting, flooring, sanitation and power in the temporary accommodation at Burnham.

Fortuitously, on the night of 22 February, HireQuip’s impressive 55m x 40m Roder marquee, which was being prepared to house exhibitors at the Ellerslie Flower Show in Hagley Park, was able to be re-assigned to provide shelter for people whose homes had become uninhabitable. The marquee had been seismic tested to 6.3 and had been cleared by a Council building inspector and engineer as safe.

HireQuip also supplied portable toilets at this site. As the extent of the damage to the eastern suburbs became apparent, the company organised for hundreds more portable toilets to be distributed to some of the streets where sewerage was not operational.

HireQuip also teamed with Christchurch-based Moveable Feasts to ensure that those involved in the rescue and recovery mission were well looked after. HireQuip supplied the main catering marquee, generators and other equipment at Latimer Square (adjacent to both the CTV and PGG buildings), while Moveable Feasts provided high quality buffet-style food around the clock, enough for 2500 meals to be served daily. Breakfast was available from 4 am and dinner until 4 am.

HireQuip’s high visibility presence is also seen in Lyttelton, the quake’s epicenter, where the port and many businesses sustained severe damage. Heavy machinery and generators were supplied to contractors for the clean-up and, where feasible, the repair process.

By keeping open their Johns Rd branch 24 hours a day, HireQuip were able to supply rescue crews, residents and contractors with the widest range of equipment. Group Sales Manager Scott Carrick has high praise for HireQuip’s team. “Many of our Christchurch staff worked through the nights serving our clients, despite some of them having suffered major damage to their own homes, and having to leave anxious families as the aftershocks continued.”


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