Hawkes Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

Role of Emergency Services

The responsibilities of each of the emergency services and the welfare agencies are briefly outlined in this part. 

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NZ Police

The New Zealand Police are responsible for maintaining law and order in Hawke’s Bay.   They also take all measures within their power and authority to protect life and property and to facilitate the movement of rescue, medical, fire and other essential services; assist the coroner as required by the Coroners Act 1988 including tracing of missing persons and notification to their next of kin; provide for traffic control; and provide protection to property and security of evacuated areas;

By virtue of their day-to-day role as co-ordinators of emergency situations and their 24-hour availability, the Police will have initial responsibility for operational co-ordination in the imminence of, and during the early stages of, a state of local emergency. Police emergency plans provide for the smooth transfer of this responsibility to the CDEM Group once it has achieved an appropriate level of operational readiness.

The declaration of a state of local emergency does not negate or transfer any powers already granted to the Police under existing statutory regulations.  The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 does however, grant additional powers to Police to help deal with the requirements of a disaster once a state of local emergency has been declared.

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Fire Services

The expression “fire services” includes the fire service units maintained by the NZ Fire Service, Rural Fire Authorities, Airport Rescue Fire Services, NZ Defence Force, and Industrial Fire Brigades registered under Section 36 of the Fire Services Act 1975, and other fire service resources owned by private organisations.

NZ Fire Service are responsible for firefighting - to control, contain and extinguish fires ;containment of hazardous substance releases and spillages; rescue; limitation of damage - salvage of essential resources from endangered locations; redistribution of water for specific needs - health and hygiene requirements of stricken areas; temporary re-establishment of piped water supplies; fire safety;

Rural Fire Authorities responsibility is the fighting of fires in their rural fire districts.  However, their resources may be able to assist with the distribution of water supplies or the temporary re-establishment of piped water supplies.  Rural fire authorities also have crews trained to cope with minor medical emergencies and have good radio communication facility networks, including simplex, portable repeater, and ground-to-air capabilities.

Airport Fire Rescue Services are responsible for providing fire-fighting, rescue, and water transport services at appropriate airports.  The services are suited to providing resources at emergency landing zones.

Industrial Fire Brigades responsible for protecting, from fire, the properties and facilities for which they were established.  Capabilities of these brigades vary depending on the range of resources provided by their industry.

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Medical and Public Health

Responsibilities of agencies and individuals for medical and public health are fully detailed within the National Civil Defence Plan (Part 6, Health).  In summary, these are as follows:

Ministry of Health has primary and overall responsibility to co-ordinate the use of resources to provide the quickest and most effective treatment and care of the physically injured and psychologically disturbed, and to combat any threat to the health of survivors.

This is arranged through contracts between the District Health Board (DHB) and agencies providing of health services at all levels within the community.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is responsible for the purchase agreements with health providers it has entered into, and to monitor the performance requirements for resources and capabilities necessary to respond effectively in a state of local emergency.  In relation to mitigation and preparedness matters, it is also responsible to undertake risk analysis of the major civil defence threats to health in the region in conjunction with the Public Health Commission and the CDEM Group.

The responsibilities and activities of the personnel and systems employed by or through Hawke’s Bay District Health Board are not relinquished by the declaration of a state of local emergency.

The Medical Officer of Health, for Hawke’s Bay, designated by the Ministry of Health, has powers during an emergency relating to infectious and notifiable diseases, conferred by section 70 and 71 of the Health Act 1956.  Other health providers and Hawke’s Bay District Health Board work closely together during an emergency to ensure that health services are integrated with the overall response to the emergency.

Other Health Providers including St John Ambulance Central Region, Order of St John, NZ Red Cross Society Inc., private medical establishments, and nursing care facilities, are to provide services in accordance with their own stated objectives prior to, during, and after, a declared civil defence emergency.

City and District Councils are responsible for liaison with health providers to assist in the integration of the health sector response activities in a state of local emergency in accordance with other needs of the emergency. 

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