Help Arrowtown get ready

Emergency Management Otago is encouraging you to sign up to Gets Ready, a two-way communication tool that helps the community be more informed, co-ordinated and resilient when emergencies happen.

Gets Ready was first set up in the Selwyn District after the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes. It is now being rolled out as part of Emergency Management Otago’s commitment to improving across the "4 Rs" – reduction, readiness, response and recovery.

Otago Gets Ready aims to strengthen neighbourhood networks and build partnerships between emergency services and local communities. “Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime, and Gets Ready is a proven two-way tool which will both help get information to people and provide them with an opportunity to help,” project co-ordinator Craig Gibson said.

Gets Ready will better connect people in their neighbourhoods and help them look after each other by sharing resources, supporting those who are more vulnerable, and linking with Civil Defence to build a clear understanding of what a community needs during emergencies and what resources and skills Emergency Management Otago can draw on in any particular area.

“Rather than mass alerts, the Gets Ready email and text alert system will help us target and send localised information to residents about situations that directly affect them, from small-scale events (boil water notices or fire bans) to major emergencies like earthquakes, floods, fires, severe weather events, and tsunamis/seiches,” said Craig. “The targeting tool is particularly powerful – we can now pinpoint suburbs and streets, right down to the side of a street or a household.”

Gets Ready also invites residents to offer their assistance and be part of a co-ordinated community emergency response. “Many people like to help out during an emergency and we can tap into their valuable skills and resources if they choose to register them in Gets Ready. They can also register to any needs and vulnerabilities they have," said Craig. “For example, we will be able to identify first aid-trained people in an area and ask them to check on an elderly neighbour with mobility or health issues and let us know what help is needed. Or link someone up to another community member who speaks their language and can help translate instructions. Or we may call people listed as having 4WD vehicles to help transport people or resources.”

The Otago Emergency Management team will be out around the region in the coming months promoting Gets Ready to residents in different ways, from online channels to in-person events such as community association and emergency response group meetings, festivals, and via council, social agency, business and school networks. They're aiming to register 20,000 Otago residents by the end of 2021 and hope that once people sign up, they’ll encourage others to do so as well.

To register for Gets Ready, follow the quick and easy three-step process:

  1. Go to to log your contact details. 
  2. Fill out the Resources, Skills and Needs section – you can choose to share as much or as little information as you wish.
  3. Once you receive the activation email (check your Junk Mail if it doesn’t come through within a few minutes), click on the link to activate your profile. All information is held privately and securely and is only accessible to authorised Civil Defence staff.   
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