Exercise Viking Thunder is coming to Dannevirke this weekend, involving the New Zealand Red Cross and the Tararua District Council.

The New Zealand Red Cross emergency management is conducting the exercise with four North Island disaster welfare support teams (DWST) and their support crews, demonstrating their skills and capability in a range of challenging tasks.

The teams will be tested with tasks associated with a large earthquake and the response required, including rescues, scene management, communications, pre-hospital medical care and triage.

For Paddy Driver, the Tararua District Council's resilience manager, exercise Viking Thunder will be a good opportunity to see how the Red Cross operates in an emergency.


"We'll also be using our Totara College civil defence welfare centre base and the council's emergency management centre," he said. A civil defence centre will also operate from the Hub, manned by Red Cross personnel, but once the exercise is over Mr Driver will be looking to man it with local volunteers.

The last part of the exercise will be an outreach task using four Dannevirke streets, assessing potential welfare needs post-earthquake. "This will be a busy weekend for the 50 Red Cross team members and 20 role players," said David Russell, a Red Cross team leader.

"Our teams train weekly and have a broad range of skills.

"However, we need Dannevirke's help for the exercise on Sunday, July 24. We need lots of people calling into our two civil defence centres to register as displaced people and have a look at what a civil defence welfare centre would look like."

The two centres are Totara College in Ruahine St and the Hub in Allardice St. Both sites will operate from 9.30am to 11.45am. There will also be a static display at the Totara College civil defence centre. Everyone is welcome.