Emergencies, natural and man-made, can occur with little or no warning so it is important everyone in the community is fully prepared for such events.
Napier's Emergency Management is a shared service with the other councils in Hawke’s Bay and is run by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management (HBCDEM) Group, administered by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
Napier City Council is allocated a full-time Emergency Management Advisor (EMA) for response. The role is the Emergency Management Advisor (Volunteer Management) and is responsible for recruiting and training volunteers for the whole of Hawke’s Bay. In addition, they contribute to training and exercising the Napier City Council staff who will respond in an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and to the reduction of the risk to the city.
Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) is not just a local government response to disaster – it is an integrated function involving many agencies to ensure a comprehensive, collective and successful community response.
Napier City Council coordinates Napier's community-integrated emergency management planning and ensures an emergency response plan is in place for the city. The plan identifies the organisations needed to maintain social stability and encourage rapid recovery in the event of a disaster. The most powerful part of this are the Community Resilience Plans, which the HBCDEM Group (EMAs) is rolling out now and into the future. We recognise an organised and well-prepared community is the most powerful tool for getting through disasters.
CDEM sets priorities and coordinates the disaster response. In the event of a disaster, emergency, medical and health services, utility operators and welfare agencies will continue managing their organisations and individual responses, but they will be required to work with the priorities set and coordinated at the Regional Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC), located in Hastings. Napier will have an Incident Management Team (IMT) to deal and prioritise the Napier specific tasks in a response. The staff who work in these centres and teams are all from council and it is a secondary task taught by the EMA (Training and Exercising) working from the Group office in Hastings.
New Zealand has always been vulnerable to devastation by natural forces. New Zealand’s civil defence organisation, which in its earliest form dates back to the 1930s, has had the task of responding to this kind of emergency. It was not until 1959, however, the establishment of the Ministry of Civil Defence formalised earlier ad hoc attempts to deal with natural disasters.
Read about the history of Civil Defence in New Zealand here.