Rotorua newbies get important message

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New Rotorua residents have been given the tools to get ready and get through in a recent Civil Defence seminar.

Hosted by Rotorua Lakes Council and Citizens Advice Bureau the seminar was a part of the newcomer's settlement into life in the Rotorua district.

The council's Civil Defence coordinator Linda Johnston, who lead the seminar, said even though natural and man-made disasters are a possibility worldwide, in New Zealand had unique hazards that new people needed to be aware of.

"Just like all of our Civil Defence messaging it's about being prepared, but for these families being prepared here may not mean the same thing as it did in their home countries."

"They are in a different place now and they have access to Civil Defence agencies that maybe weren't available to them before. It was really interesting to meet these people. They are from all over the world so the group were able to share their own knowledge of natural disasters," she said.

Ms Johnston saidf one attendee from Japan had faced a series of large earthquakes and another from Singapore had experienced a major cyclone that hit where she lived.

Council's Civil Defence coordinator Linda Johnston
Council's Civil Defence coordinator Linda Johnston


"It's the sharing of these stories that really gives us the ability to learn and expand our Civil Defence procedures."

The seminar covered important parts of planning such as having an emergency kit available at home, knowing that your family has an evacuation plan to follow,and how to access Civil Defence alerts and information.

Council's transport and waste solutions director Stavros Michael who also acts as the Civil Defence primary controller for the Rotorua district said council really focused on developing opportunities for newcomers to participate in Civil Defence Emergency Management.

"It's not just about having the right tools during the emergency but also having a good network of support for after the event. It's all about self-reliance for the first 72 hours of an event. That means having enough food, medical and toiletry supplies to last those first few days," he said.

The council encouraged these groups to take opportunities to get together and build support networks within their neighbourhoods and the wider community. It was also a good opportunity for families to identify an overseas contact person so that in the event of an emergency worried family members abroad can get all the information they need from one source.

"From these workshops we always have people volunteering or wanting to participate more in Civil Defence Emergency Management. It is great to know we will have these assets in our community," said Mr Stavros.

Rotorua Lakes Council's Civil Defence team aims to work closely with iwi, community groups and rural communities to progress emergency planning in order to reduce the impact of events on our community.

For more information on where to access Civil Defence Emergency Management visit http://www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz/

- Rotorua Daily Post

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