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Major Ruapehu multi-agency emergency response exercise

Ruapehu Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) is holding a multi-agency training exercise on Wednesday 15 May based around a major volcanic eruption on Mt Ruapehu.

The exercise led by Ruapehu District Council will involve all the usual emergency response agencies of Fire, St John Ambulance and the Police together with the Army, DOC, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), GNS Science, health services, local iwi and media as well as civil defence personnel from outside the region and others.

Ruapehu Emergency Management Officer Nick Watson said that the exercise was part of routine training that is regularly scheduled.

“The most recent Volcano Alert Bulletin confirmed Te Wai ā-moe (Crater Lake) temperature was cooling so we want to be clear that there is no increased volcanic activity prompting the exercise,” he said.

“Training exercises of this magnitude are an incredibly important part of our civil defence preparedness designed to test and enhance our people, systems and procedures and ensure their readiness and capacity to respond to a real life event.

In addition to allowing all the partner agencies to work together they let the people whose normal day jobs aren’t in emergency services to ‘get a feel’ for what an actual real life civil defence response involves.

With the coming ski season and visitor numbers to Ruapehu expected to surge with the opening of RAL’s new Whakapapa gondola on top on the strong visitor growth of recent years this exercise is very timely.

We always aim to make the exercises as realistic as possible which will involve such things as setting up the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) in Taumarunui, the use of Incident Control Points (ICP) in the field, and activation of the eruption alarm which will be heard by people around Whakapapa.

There is no need for the public to be concerned if they see a high level of activity by emergency responders on the day (Wed 15 May) and we would like to thank people in advance for their cooperation during the exercise.”

Mr Watson said that normal emergency services (Fire, Ambulance, Police) will not be impacted by the exercise and anyone needing these services should not hesitate to contact these organisations as per usual if needed.

“If anyone has any queries about the exercise please call me directly on 021 247 7340,” he said.

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