Between the 14 and 28 November, councils across the Wellington region will be holding a series of training exercises using a simulated earthquake scenario to practise their emergency response procedures. The first of this series coincides with the second anniversary of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and takes place at Hutt City Council on Wednesday 14 November.

In a major event, such as an earthquake, emergency operations centres will be activated by local councils around the region to manage the local response. An emergency coordination centre will be established at the regional level to coordinate the regional response. Council employees, with support from other partner agencies, will assume various roles in these facilities to manage and coordinate the region’s response.

Two exercises, involving eighty participants, will be held at Hutt City Council in the morning and the afternoon on 14 November. These two exercises will be the first of 13 exercises that will run over the following fortnight. The series of exercises are part of a comprehensive training programme run by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO), in partnership with councils, to increase their level of preparedness.

“The anniversary of the Kaikōura earthquake is a reminder that we need to be ready. Our local operations centres and regional coordination centre play a vital role in an emergency. We need to practise our response to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible when they are needed" explains Jeremy Holmes, Regional Manager at the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO).

He continues: “We use emergency scenarios during these training exercises to help create an environment that is as close to a real-life event as possible, but one where people can learn and develop. Participants are asked to identify and complete tasks within a short timeframe, to create a sense of urgency. These exercises are an opportunity for participants to put their emergency management skills into practice and we are always looking for ways we can learn and improve. Our training programme follows a national framework which enables a coordinated response, whether it is at a local, regional or national level.”

Geoff Stuart Hutt City Council Divisional Manager, Regulatory Services and Emergency Management says, “One of the practical outcomes of these exercises is that we test our systems and processes to check for any opportunities for improvement. Tabletop exercises like the ones occurring tomorrow are held twice a year allowing us the opportunity to practise scenarios which will assist us in a reallife incident. The learnings from the training exercises will be included in our local earthquake
response plan.”

WREMO’s role is to lead and co-ordinate the effective delivery of Civil Defence and Emergency Management services on behalf of the nine councils across the Wellington region.

An emergency response table top training exercise at Hutt City Council

Published:13 November 2018