Did you know it’s Get Ready Week this month? From 21 to 27 September, Civil Defence are encouraging New Zealanders to think about potential hazards and the need to be prepared – the theme for this year is ‘What would you do?’
That’s the question we’re posing to the Greener Neighbourhoods as they prepare for their Civil Defence Challenge. Organised in conjunction with the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office, each household is challenged to spend the weekend – from 5pm Friday 26th to 5pm Sunday 28th – without running water or with limited electricity. For the super-keen, water tanks and emergency toilets are available for loan.
This is a chance for households to test how they’d cope in a civil defence emergency, identify the gaps in their preparation and explore how they can support each other as a community while they still have the chance to fine-tune their systems.
Groups will be briefed by WREMO staff beforehand to help them be as comfortable, confident and healthy as possible, and visited during the event to see how they’re getting on. While simulation events have been held for civil defence and local authority personnel, a home-based event like this is new for New Zealand. Participants will be surveyed about their experiences to help WREMO in their job of assisting the wider community to get ready.
Even if you’re not part of Greener Neighbourhoods, is this an event you and your neighbours might like to replicate? I know there’s never an ideal time to make your life challenging, but there’s a lot to be said for discovering you’re under-prepared while you can still remedy the situation.
And with spring here, the Saturday night might be an opportunity to hold your first neighbourhood BBQ of the season! Engaging collectively in a simulation like this is a good chance to strengthen those all-important local support networks because, as we saw in Christchurch, strong communities fare better when things get hard.
Here’s the flier we sent to the Greener Neighbourhoods groups, setting out the guidelines (i.e. don’t turn off your freezer!) in case you’d like to discuss it with your neighbours.
If you’re keen, contact email@example.com and I can send you a bunch of emergency preparedness booklets for households and neighbourhoods. We’d also try to make a time for you to meet with Scott from WREMO during or after the challenge to discuss whether your preparations meet the ‘comfortable, confident and healthy’ test.
You can find more info here: http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/cdem-sector/public-education/get-ready-week/