Vital support

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Volunteers from Fire and Emergency, and St John on show this week in downtown Ashburton.
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Volunteers from Fire and Emergency, St John, and Civil Defence were in downtown Ashburton this week to show what they do in a large scale emergency.

And how people can be prepared.

Paramedic and St John major incident support team (MIST) manager Andrew Beckley said it showed how responders were ‘‘united in being ready to support our frontline first responders if any major incident happens’’.

It also aimed to prepare Mid Cantabrians for a major earthquake, especially following recent tremors offshore, as well as in Taupo and Haast.

It was a chance to hear about each of the services operational support teams can help in the event of an emergency.

They are always on the look out for more volunteers, Mr Beckley said.

‘‘We just wanted to show the support elements and how we all work together. Together we can look after the community.

‘‘It’s a unity thing, and an awareness that the support elements are there and if you are keen on volunteering and you don’t want to have all the nasty things with ambulance or fire, then maybe this is the thing for you.

‘‘There’s something for everybody to volunteer for, and for what they can do.’’

Mr Beckley said the MIST team were a non-clinical team who did not fix people but ‘‘support the people who do fix people’’.

Similarly, those with FENZ’s operational support unit – set up in 2019 – played a supporting role during events, doing whatever was needed at the time.

The support roles were about being prepared.

‘‘We need to be prepared. Nobody is doomsday prepping but it’s that be prepared be aware,’’ Mr Beckley said.

‘‘You don’t have to go out and stock up (extensively) but get yourself a first aid kit, get your fire extinguisher , get your go-bag sorted.’’

An emergency go-bag should include birth certificate copies, bank details, national health identification number and a list of any needed medications.

Mr Beckley said put them ‘‘in a plastic bag, snap lock kept somewhere safe cos if the world does go bung that’s what you’re going to need.’’

He said hard copies, rather than just Cloud-based storage, were best and all stored in a bag accessible to grab as needed.

‘‘If our cell towers go out we lose all connectivity, so prepare for the worst and then your set for the best,’’ he said.

Many of the district’s emergency services are looking for more volunteers including Civil Defence, St John, Land Search and Rescue and Fire and Emergency.

Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury’s Dellwyn Moylan, who is with Civil Defence, was among those at the downtown display and was thankful to all emergency volunteers in the district.

‘‘International research shows that one if the areas people are wanting to volunteer in is the emergency services,’’ she said.

Anyone can visit www.getready.govt.nz to find out how to get ready for a major emergency.