Emergency management officer Trevor Andrews has announced that the Wānaka community response plan is almost finalised, a document for the benefit of the public which identifies Wānaka’s key hazards—earthquakes, major storms, snowstorms, flooding, wildfires, landslides and accidents—and how to act before, after and during each hazard.
“The final draft of the Wānaka community response plan is currently in the hands of the Emergency Services, NZ Defense staff, Queenstown Lakes District Council, welfare agencies and medical providers and Emergency Management Otago,” said Andrews. “Once finally reviewed by the Lake Wānaka Tourism group we will publish the plan publicly.”
‘Earthquake’ is the first hazard listed and is explained in the draft community response plan, “New Zealand lies on the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. Most earthquakes occur at faults, which are breaks extending deep within the earth, caused by movements of these plates. There are thousands of earthquakes every year, but most of them are not felt because they are either small, or very deep within the earth. Each year there are about 150-200 quakes that are big enough to be felt. A large, damaging earthquake could occur at any time, and can be followed by aftershocks that continue for days, weeks or months.”
The draft plan also features illustrative maps and guidance, a household emergency plan to create and practice, emergency survival kit and getaway kit checklists and a ‘how to stay in touch’ section.
Andrews said, “We initially intend distributing hard copies to the Emergency Services and vulnerable populations such as schools, hospitals and retirement homes. We will have supplies of hard copies for the public available at the QLDC offices. The plan will be available on-line on QLDC and Emergency Management Otago websites.”
The plan details a number of sites allocated for civil defence, which can also be found online at otagodem.govt.nz, civildefence.govt.nz, or whatstheplanstan.govt.nz.
All visitors, tourists and foreign nationals are encouraged to go to Lake Wānaka Centre in the event of a community emergency.
Andrews hopes to overcome the C.A.N.T. Happen Syndrome—complacency, apathy, naivety and time poor—and “move communities from just ‘awareness’ to action and personal preparedness plans. Also greater community support and involvement in civil defence training courses for example [I] had over 300 turn up to each of the two Alpine Fault (AF8) public talks but less than 20 came along to [the] civil defence courses a couple of months later.”
To register your interest in attending a civil defence training course, email Trevor Andrews on firstname.lastname@example.org.