Exercise a timely reminder to be ready
Kāpiti Coast District Council staff were given a timely reminder of the need to be ready for anything after a trial activation of the Kāpiti Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) this week.
The EOC was the base for the Council’s COVID-19 initial response prior to lockdown and the response team moving to a virtual operation, and is the District’s Civil Defence base.
The exercise was based on a COVID scenario where fictitious infections were picked up following an imaginary swimming gala attended by thousands of local and visitors.
EOC staff worked on formulating an initial response plan including, who they needed to make contact with, what resources and tasks were needed, who had responsibility for what, and what other local, regional and national partners they could call on.
The exercise was observed by two independent specialists from Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office, who declared the exercise a success and one that should bring confidence to the community.
Kāpiti Coast District Council Emergency Controller James Jefferson says he was pleased that within 45 minutes a fully functioning EOC with good pace and focus was under way.
“The purpose of getting our response team together was to practice, to ‘throw the ball around’ and get used to various conditions, to work on our match fitness in readiness for the next big event that we will face”, James says.
He also says that it’s a good time now for everyone to reflect on their own readiness.
“With the holidays getting nearer there’s likely to be more travel and a higher likelihood of complacency setting in.
“It’s really important that people keep up the COVID precautions around good hygiene, staying away if they’re unwell and tracking their movements, but it’s equally important to have a plan for other types of emergencies.
“Having a plan, storing seven days of household supplies and knowing those around you, are the basics of being ready for anything,” James says.