Emergency preparedness on the agenda for Safer Wanganui - 4/07/2011
At the recent meeting of the Safer Wanganui Steering Group the range of issues for discussion included emergency management preparedness, ways of addressing bullying, both within schools and the wider family environment and road safety.
“Safer Wanganui is the umbrella body which brings together representatives from all areas of our community involved in making Wanganui a safer place to be,” says Mayor Annette Main, Chair of Safer Wanganui. “Our recent accreditation as an International Safe Community demonstrates the success of this collaborative force.
“Our agenda covers the priority areas of alcohol and other drugs, education, family violence, justice, safety and wellbeing, emergency planning and road safety.
“It was great to hear about the progress being made in the area of emergency preparedness, with the events that have shaken Christchurch over the past 10 months providing relevant lessons for us in our community.
“Many Wanganui organisations still have staff involved in the recovery operation and will continue to do so for a substantial time. We have had success in securing funding from the Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management for a stand-by generator wired to a service station, to ensure if a major disaster strikes, our emergency response teams will still be able to access fuel for their vehicles through petrol pumps.
“We also heard anecdotal evidence that people are not as prepared as they may think they are – so it’s essential everyone takes the message on board about being prepared should a disaster strike. There’s lots of information available about what’s needed for a survival kit. We saw in Christchurch that many people needed to look after themselves in the initial aftermath of the quakes. Being prepared is a good example of the way in which the community can take the initiative.
“Bullying was also an issue discussed. There are initiatives underway that offer student leaders the opportunity to drive positive change. Of course, bullying is not just something that is solely focused on children and in schools – which is why having a cross section of people around the table at Safer Wanganui is so useful.
“We were able to look at what is being done within the family violence area too, of which bullying is a part. It’s something which is everyone’s problem and we all need to work together to keep people safe and provide good adult role models.
“In the area of road safety we heard that the intersection advertising undertaken by Horizons Regional Council has been met with a positive response. They are also working with motorcycle groups to identify ways of helping them be safe. There has also been a joint campaign with Age Concern to work with older drivers to help them be ‘car fit’.
“Safer Wanganui provides an overarching focus for initiatives and take a measurable approach to reaching our targets so we know how we doing.
“It’s great to see things moving in the right direction and continuing to make our community a safer place for everyone.”