Several months ago I rang Council on 3010101 to get some information on Civil Defence. I was referred to the Council website. Following through the instructions on the website, I was eventually drawn to a comment which told me if I wanted more detailed information, I should ring the Council. Recently I repeated the process and found it remains the same.
Below are the comments from someone with first-hand experience in Civil Defence matters.
MAJOR AND SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE NEW COMMUNITY RESPONSE PLANS:
They stress in the new Community Response Plans draft that communication is a vital element in these plans. But one City Emergency Centre is now handling both regional and local levels? Communication when it is most needed, becomes virtually impossible if –
- the area or region’s power supply fails. Many components of our normal networks will fail to operate (even including home cordless phones, TV, etc). There are very few premises with automatic backup power supplies. Whole Civil Defence zones are also now being denied access to their previously local civil defence centres that –
(a) do have a backup power supply and
(b) the facilities to communicate over a range of alternative systems and distances.
(c) were local and centrally situated within their area with foot or road access.
- The now only one operations centre in Auckland City central has NOT –
(a) the channels or links to all the various networks that other organisations use.
(b) enough trained operators for the need.
(c) enough channels or access connections to handle the flood of communications that will occur in a city(the size and layout of Auckland) in a city wide disaster.
- The communication equipment has limitations in –
(a) The transmission range of some communication equipment is limited.
(b) The physical position of some communication network sites.
(c) The reliability of network systems in severe weather or atmospheric conditions.
(d) The number of alternative communication equipment units and options.
The new plans may assist in making communities more emergency conscious but are seriously flawed if there is a major emergency or disaster. The volume of ‘unfiltered’ messages that will flow into the one centre makes a system ‘overload’ extremely likely.
Communications into and out of the now one city centre –
(a) All the Emergency Services – Fire, police, Ambulance, Coastguard, etc
(b) All the Government Advisory Organisations – NIWA, MetService, MAF, etc
(c) All the Lifeline Organisations and service organizations – Welfare, Gas, Power,
(d) All the political officials (local and central government) – Chairmen, Ministers, etc
(e) All the media (local, national, and international) of various sorts. –Radio,TV,etc
(f) All the Civil Defence Emergency Management, both field and regional staff.
(g) Each local community Emergency Response Group (numbering 150+)
(h) Others – Do we need to say more!!! Rethink is needed NOW!!!
WE THE RESIDENTS AND RATEPATERS ARE NOW AT RISK