Being prepared for a disaster

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Red Cross humanitarian development engagement manger Kathy O'Neill.

The recent major flooding in Mid Canterbury has highlighted the need for people to be as prepared as possible for emergency situations.

Thousands of people living in the Allenton, Netherby and Racecourse Road areas were told to get ready and plan for an evacuation of their homes on May 30 as a precautionary measure should there be a breach in Ashburton River stopbanks. They were also urged to have “a grab-bag ready to go”.

Red Cross humanitarian development engagement manger Kathy O’Neill said the floods were a timely reminder for people in Ashburton district to be good and ready in case disaster strikes.

The disaster in this case was a flood, but it could also be an earthquake, major snow event, or another kind of disaster that had the ability to disconnect communities.

Mrs O’Neill says making a plan in case a disaster strikes is good and that plan should include having a kit of emergency supplies, including food and water.

Key items like medication, torches, and clothing should all be ready to grab.

A disaster could mean evacuation or could equally mean being cut off from the community.

She said people needed to be more resilient when faced with an emergency.

Mrs O’Neill is collaborating with the Connecting Mid Canterbury Charitable Trust to run a workshop in Ashburton on June 22 to help people be good and ready when disaster strikes.

The workshop is free and open to anyone and will be held at Community House from 1.30 – 3.30pm.

Information resources will be given out and Mrs O’Neill is keen to follow up and collaborate with service clubs, migrants and other groups afterwards.

Follow-ups could include free first-aid and psychological first aid training, she said.

Spreading the word about being ready helped communities stay connected.

“If more people are resilient and have more support in the community and also more people able to help and relieve others managing the situation.”

To register for the Be Good and Ready workshop visit Eventbrite or call community house (308 1237).

Kathy O’Neill can be contacted on 027 272 1983.