Facilitator Kerry, from WREMO. Photo: Brian Sheppard

Last week the first Disaster Management Workshop of three was held for Glenside and Churton Park residents and businesses. Andrea Wilson of Glenside, who is co-ordinating the Glenside response, provides a report back on the first session.

Report Back 1

Kerry McSaveney from WREMO (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office) facilitated a very enjoyable and successful evening. There were over 30 participants from the Glenside and Churton Park communities, one of whom had lived in the area for 48 years!

The evening consisted of a presentation by Kerry which covered the following points:

  • What are the likely hazards and impacts for our area; flood, earthquake, pandemic, storms, wildfire, hazardous substances, power failure or terrorism?
  • Why we need to support each other without the help of official emergency services.
  • Identifying the strengths and vulnerabilities of our community, which we did using coloured dots on giant aerial maps.
  • How would we manage and coordinate people turning up to Churton Park School (our Civil Defence Centre) to meet their needs and offers of assistance?
  • How can we check on the things we are worried about, such as infrastructure through to neighbourly support?

Photo: WREMO

What’s important

One exercise was for each person to write down three words that describes our community. These words were put together into a wordcloud. Over half of the participants describe Glenside and Churton Park as “friendly”, with themes around the sense of community, family friendliness and natural surrounds, including birdlife.

Much of the second half of the 2 hour meeting was devoted to sticking coloured dots on aerial maps of Churton Park and Glenside. I was amazed to see the collective knowledge of all the locals putting together the important places, community gathering sites, important infrastructure, and possible sites of vulnerabilities.

Key messages I found useful to take away from the evening included:

  • Don’t wait for ‘official’ authorisation, if there’s a need just act on it.
  • Information sharing is most important. The use of notice boards and signs is necessary.
  • People will likely first ensure they are ok, then their family, then their neighbours and friends, before offering assistance to the wider community.
  • Having a pre-existing sense of belonging within your community will help people to support each other after a significant emergency.

Community Planning In Action

Photo: Brian Sheppard

Focus of next meeting

The next meeting is on Thursday 25th August at 7pm at the Churton Park School Hall. The focus is slightly different, so if you missed the first one, then you are very welcome to come to the next meeting. Kerry will bring back the aerial maps so we can keep adding to them. The focus will be about:

  • Practical solutions to critical needs – using available resources.
  • What medical facilities are available to meet medical needs in the community.
  • Where and how to get food.
  • What access is there to drinking water and sanitation – how do we ensure everyone has access?
  • How to deal with people requiring shelter, including those who may have been in the community when an event occurred (eg train or bus commuters, business staff).