Monday, September 05, 2005

Civil Defence in New Zealand

There is one lesson that we can all learn from The New Orleans disaster.

Don't rely on the government (or anyone else) to bail you out!

You MUST be responsible for yourself and your own.

I have been involved with the front lines of civil defense for many years- SAR, Red Cross, St. John's, Ambulance, Army. There are a lot of good people out there, not a lot of resources though. Certainly not enough to go around in a really catastrophic event.

While some of the floods of the last few years may have been a disaster to those involved, they were a pin-prick by comparison with a cat.4 hurricane hitting a city bigger than Auckland.

The sort of event that is more likely here is, as we know, a large (8+ Richter scale) earthquake. Imagine that hitting Wellington, then combining that with a raging southerly gale.

Some of the exercises indicate that unlike the optimistically stated 3 days that people may have to manage on their own resources, it may be more like 2-3 weeks! Certainly in cut-off smaller outlying communities.

I live in such a place. A large scale earthquake would almost certainly cut off our access links (a rail tunnel, mountain pass road access and several bridges over major rivers) We live in a small community of 2,500 people. Being rural, food won't be too much of a problem and there are good water supplies close to town. Most houses have woodfires and as we get many power cuts, a lot of us have supplies of candles, gas lanterns, even generators.

We would be a lot better off than those in the metro centres. Trouble is, a lot of our population commute to these metro areas to work. I used to keep a small pack full of basics- enough to keep me going while I walked the 80km home. I wonder how may take their preparations that far!

At home, we carry far more than the recommended supplies. Being into camping, we have the whole range of tents, cookers, ropes, water containers, lanterns, solar showers and so on. The chainsaw would probably be very useful and I have a small solar power system that can run a radio and some lighting.

The numerous firearms will keep the pot filled.

And in our possession!

Having said don't rely on others, it is very useful to team up with others you know and trust. Talk with them, plan and bounce ideas off each other. Think about how to improvise things, what you need to have stored, what skills you all have and what you might need to do to keep your family safe.

I live in a small community, with many outstanding individuals in it. It also has it's share of criminal and deadbeat lowlifes who repeatedly proven they have a total disregard for others. Let them prey on those who think they are above needing to protect themselves.

You can always shoot them later!

3 comments:

Bliss Bunny said...

Most of us can't do without our remote controls, visa card and fast food! It's scary just how helpless we are in this day and age.

Lippy said...

Good advice. I'm glad our family had basic survival skills and hefty doses of commonsense drummed into us growing up. Still stands me in good stead.

NZ Resilience Trust said...

Civil Defence is such an over-rated concept in New Zealand. The responsibility is that of the communities we live in, not central or local government.
The problem is that the powers that be don't WANT to let communities take ownership - it threatens their power base.
In my 20 years as a Civil Defence volunteer, most of the work we have done has been to hide the facts through false reassurances (so the population won't panic) and to form insular pockets that are isolated from the rest of the community.
Community Resilience is the way of the future!