The Wellington region’s emergency management capability has increased by 50% over the past three years, new Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management analysis shows.
The region’s nine councils agreed in 2012 to combine their response teams into a single Emergency Management organisation -WREMO - the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office.
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett, who chairs WREMO’s Mayoral oversight body, the Wellington Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group, said the combined model has seen great improvements.
“Disasters don’t pay attention to regional and local body boundaries so nor should we,” Mayor Leggett said.
“Our streamlined approach has seen WREMO able to quickly adopt changes following Christchurch’s earthquakes and put in place improvements identified in the previous Ministry evaluation report in 2011.” One example of how effective WREMO has been was it achieved the highest level of public registrations for Shakeout, the National Earthquake awareness campaign, with Wellington City, Hutt City and Masterton District amongst the top five councils in the country.
Another National Shakeout exercise is being held on October 15.
WREMO has received several International Association of Emergency Managers awards for engagement of volunteers, use of social media for marketing, the creation of private/public partnerships to provide affordable preparedness products, and tsunami education.
“Our next focus will be on examining the Christchurch recovery to better understand important decisions that council, businesses, and residents should make now, in order to promote a strong and speedy recovery should we experience a similar disaster,” Mayor Leggett said