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An innovative new approach for local volunteers to help in emergencies

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A new partnership between Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HBCDEM) and Volunteering Hawkes Bay will improve the resilience of the whole community by enabling a streamlined approach for local volunteers to assist during emergencies.

On Tuesday, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise an arrangement where Volunteering Hawkes Bay will provide volunteer management services for HBCDEM. The agreement is targeted at people interested in being ‘spontaneous’ volunteers – community members who offer their services on the spur of the moment in response to an emergency event.

HBCDEM and Volunteering HB have worked together on various activities over the last few years, including exercises, shared training, and promoting NZ ShakeOut last year. HBCDEM Operational Readiness Team Leader Edaan Lennan says the MoU is a natural progression of the relationship between the two organisations.

“Civil Defence Emergency Management has always been founded in people helping people and delivered through a series of partnerships. Volunteers are a vital part of this kaupapa as they provide valuable support during readiness, response, and recovery, as well as vital links to communities,” Edaan Lennan said.

“Volunteering HB specialise in volunteer management and coordinating volunteers across the region. This MoU means we can tap into their expertise.

“In an emergency, we always encourage people to be part of their own community-led response, looking after their own whānau, neighbourhoods, and communities first and foremost. However, if you want to offer your skills and time to support the official response, you can register your interest with Volunteering HB.

“It will allow us to quickly engage a wide group of volunteers who are supported to help in an effective and coordinated way, while we can focus on coordinating the emergency response,” Edaan Lennan said.

Under the MoU, Volunteering HB will maintain a list of up to 100 police vetted volunteers to fulfil various emergency roles and will provide call centre staff to act on HBCDEM’s behalf in readiness, response, and recovery. HBCDEM will provide training and information for the volunteers and reimburse Volunteering HB for police vetting and the provision of call centre capability.

Volunteering HB Manager Leanne Collins says the MoU with HBCDEM represents an important partnership which will benefit the whole community.

“Here in Hawke’s Bay, we have many dedicated and diverse volunteers ready to use their skills and experience to help the community,” Leanne Collins said.

“We know people often come forward as volunteers before, during, and after emergencies, to contribute their time and energy. This MoU means we can channel those skills to get the best out of our volunteers to support the response and recovery,” Leanne Collins said.

Volunteering Hawkes Bay maintains a database of people who are happy to be contacted for assistance in the event of a Civil Defence, or other emergency services. More info here: https://volunteeringhb.org.nz/volunteers/emergency-volunteering

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