Emergencies, natural and man-made, can occur with little or no warning so it's important everyone in the community prepares for such events.
Napier's Emergency Management Office is part of the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, administered by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. Napier City Council is allocated a full-time Emergency Management Officer. The role includes recruiting and training volunteers, public education programmes, organising training and exercises, and contributing to the reduction of the risk to the city.
Civil Defence Emergency Management 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 we're rolling out now and into the future. We recognise that an organised and well-prepared community is the most powerful tool for getting through disasters.
Civil Defence Emergency Management 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 NCC's Emergency Management Officer.
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.