Red Cross gets prepared for disaster

Tuesday October 17, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Cook Islands Red Cross Society staff (from left) secretary general Fine Tuitupou-Arnold, community based health coordinator Courtney Raita, society’s disaster management coordinator Mata Hetland disaster management coordinator Tabitha Berg, fi nance offi cer Maria Maoate, communications offi cer Matariki Wilson and First Aid coordinator Patience Vainerere after their alternative Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) set up training on Friday in the Turangi Valley. 17101607 Cook Islands Red Cross Society staff (from left) secretary general Fine Tuitupou-Arnold, community based health coordinator Courtney Raita, society’s disaster management coordinator Mata Hetland disaster management coordinator Tabitha Berg, fi nance offi cer Maria Maoate, communications offi cer Matariki Wilson and First Aid coordinator Patience Vainerere after their alternative Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) set up training on Friday in the Turangi Valley. 17101607

With cyclone season fast approaching and experts predicting between 8 and 10 cyclones for the Pacific Region, the Cook Islands Red Cross Society is taking no chances and is getting disaster-prepared.

 

Society staff took part in an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) forward office set up on Friday to get familiar with the process and procedure of setting up an alternative EOC and response unit in the event the society’s headquarters is damaged in a disaster.

The EOC set-up training gave staff the opportunity to get familiar with the forward office equipment including satellite phones, generators to run laptop computers and floodlights.

Staff also went through the various disaster assessment forms used to collect vital information from households after a disaster in order to provide affected communities with relief items.

Feedback from training on how to improve procedures was also discussed in order to be best prepared in the event the alternative EOC will need to be set up.

Organised and run by the society’s disaster management coordinator, Mata Hetland, Friday’s training was one of a number of disaster management and risk reduction programmes the department runs throughout the year on Rarotonga and across the Pa Enua.

Red Cross is playing a key supporting role, both financially and technically, in the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Plan review process being conducted through the Pa Enua.

Mata Hetland along with Regional Trainer Liz Hosking and the team from Emergency Management Cook Islands have already gone through the DRM Plan review on Atiu, Mangaia and Aitutaki reporting positive responses from each islands DRM committee members.

Edited versions of the DRM Plans will be sent back to the islands to look over and simulate and a final version sent back to Rarotonga.

The final process is for the reviewed plans to be endorsed by the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC).

The review process aims to ensure island and government first responders are confident to respond in times of disaster.

Each Pa Enua has a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) plan – a guide to help island communities manage risks and prepare for possible disaster as well as take ownership of the plans and to be able to manage and respond in times of disaster

Mitiaro and Mauke will shortly have the review of their individual DRM plans.

In August this year, representatives from all 15 Red Cross branches across the Pa Enua attended a two-week Emergency Response Training (ERT) session before the society’s general assembly.

Pa Enua members were engaged in a variety of training topics, from the origins of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement to modules on disaster management cycle, terminology, the National Disaster Management System, types of disaster assessment and the steps to carry out disaster assessments.

To solidify theory training a mock exercise was staged for participants to practice their skills

A new component of the two-week training programme was the Psychological First Aid Training delivered by New Zealand Red Cross Society trainer Cate Keville.

Nearer to the start of cyclone season, runs from the end of October to April, a refresher “table top” exercise will be held at the Red Cross headquarters for volunteers and staff.

Anyone keen to train as Red Cross ERT volunteer can contact Mata Hetland at the Cook Islands Red Cross on 22598. 

            - Release

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