No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario but the better prepared we all are, the easier it will be for us to get through an emergency. With the massive AF8 earthquake now overdue, it's important we all know what to do if something like that happens.
Arrowtown's community response
In an emergency, civil defence and first responders will be very busy and will prioritise the people who need them the most. It’s up to us as individuals and as a community to be as prepared as we can be.
Arrowtown has a local community response group (CRG) with a coverage area that extends as far as Crown Terrace, Arrow Junction and parts of Dalefield. This residents group is working and training with Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM). If and when the CRG is stood up it will lead the community's response.
Arrowtown welfare hub
In a Civil Defence emergency the CRG welfare hub will be a place you can get accurate information and ask for and offer help. The hub will be at the Arrowtown Community Centre unless the building is unsafe. If all communications are out the CRG will have contact with Civil Defence through VHF radio. The group is currently looking for funding to buy a generator and other important emergency equipment.
At the welfare hub members of the CRG will collate the most up-to-date local information and send situation reports to CDEM in Queenstown. They will match up offers of help with people who need it and create a drop-in centre. If needed they will be able to set up tent accommodation.
Otago Gets Ready
The Gets Ready online database is at the core of the CRG response. Here households and businesses can sign up to get emergency alerts from Emergency Management Otago, and register any special assistance they may need as well as skills or resources they may be able to offer, helping us all to look after each other in an emergency event. The database is strictly confidential and can only be accessed by Emergency Management Otago staff and two approved members of the CRG. It is only used in the case of a Civil Defence emergency.
What you can do
We strongly encourage you to sign up at Otago Gets Ready and, if you have signed up previously, to log in occasionally and update the information if necessary. Talk to your neighbours and friends and show them how to sign up too.
The CRG is looking for more members so that they can provide support during an emergency that goes on for a number of days. It's not a massive commitment, you don't need any special skills, and training is provided by CDEM. The group meets monthly, usually on the first Monday of the month.
Photo: Arrowtown CRG doing a tabletop training exercise (earthquake scenario)