District response praised

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Back row from left: NEMA’s Gary Knowles, Simon Chambers, Carolyn Schwalger, FENZ’s Rhys Jones, Kerry Gregory, Bevan Findlay, and front from left: FENZ’s John Ferguson, Alan Burgess, Rob Hands and Don Geddes.

Back row from left: NEMA’s Gary Knowles, Simon Chambers, Carolyn Schwalger, FENZ’s Rhys Jones, Kerry Gregory, Bevan Findlay, and front from left: FENZ’s John Ferguson, Alan Burgess, Rob Hands and Don Geddes.

Mid Canterbury’s emergency services flood recovery efforts have been praised by visiting representatives from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).

The Ashburton Fire Station hosted visitors this week who were in town to assess emergency services and management co-ordination responses. NEMA chief executive Carolyn Schwalger said Ashburton had been through some tough times but is a resilient community. ‘‘I can understand that the fatigue must be kicking in at this point, but they are well organised, connected with a good community spirit,’’ she said.

NEMA’s underpinning philosophy is locally led, regionally co-ordinated and nationally enabled. Supporting a community during the recovery phase is part of NEMA’s role.

Ms Schwalger said good recovery planning and access to different resources is vital.

‘‘Most importantly is what we do out of emergency event times, the preparedness work that we do, and to make sure we are working on the four R’s: risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery.’’

FENZ chief executive Rhys Jones said they are taking lessons about how interagencies work together.

‘‘It doesn’t matter what badge or uniform you are wearing you’re therefor the community,’’ he said.

FENZ national commander Kerry Gregory said feedback has been really good about the connection they made.

‘‘The interesting thing about the recovery process is people never understand how long it is, it’s only in it’s infancy, for us our role in recovery is connecting people so they know where to go.’’

Also present were NEMA’s deputy chief executive Gary Knowles, management adviser Simon Chambers and Area 22 principal rural fire officer Rob Hands.

By Daniel Tobin