Strong communities are safer communities
Preparing for an emergency is as important as dealing with one, and Allan Grigg at Hurunui District Council is aware of this and all the details inbetween.
He is a new face for some at Hurunui District Council, and a familiar face for others.
With his Emergency Management Officer (EMO) hat on he will be working with Council and the district’s communities, providing education and support around risk management, response methods, and community resilience.
“It’s about helping communities prepare for and recover from adverse events such as floods, earthquakes, strong wind events, fires, and tsunamis, to name just a few. It could even be a meteorite strike!”
Allan had a dual role at Council for his previous eight year tenure at Hurunui District Council, as EMO and Principal Rural Fire Officer.
For the past two years he took up a post with the Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM), based in Christchurch, as regional advisor between National Civil Defence office and CDEM organisations in West Coast, Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions.
“The main mission was to provide CDEM advice.”
Allan said it was a great way to gain a greater appreciation of the links between local communities and national level emergency management.
“The better prepared a local community is, the more resources they will receive, it all comes down to the flow of information of what communities need.”
Allan is now thrilled to be back in rural life in Hurunui.
“It’s absolutely fantastic being back. Especially the one minute commute to the office! I’m looking forward to reconnecting with people in this great community, whom I have worked with before.”
Allan has taken a slight side step in his fire fighting capacity too, thoroughly enjoying being a member of the Amberley Volunteer Fire Brigade, where he has been for more than two years.
In his previous fire fighting life as Principal Rural Fire Officer he was managing 100 rural fire officers throughout Hurunui.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to help protect and serve our community. There is a great level of fellowship in the Brigade, it’s a great bunch of people. Fire fighting allows you to develop and improve yourself physically and mentally.”
There is one significant similarity between fire fighting and CDEM work.
“Relationships and preparation are absolutely critical.”
The first part of 2021 will be a very busy one for Allan, working with communities to create their own response teams.
“It’s about coming together with communities, looking at their risk profile, what will potentially endanger them, what their action plan will be, and what resources they currently have, and need.”
Allan cannot emphasise enough the importance for communities to get to know the risks at their own home.
“I say, look around you, what can you do to reduce youR own risk?”
For example, reducing the risk of wild fires is being aware of potential dangers.
“Don’t let debris stay under your deck. Most fires tend to burn through ember transfer. Clean your gutters, and keep debris away from the house. And try and choose non-flammable plants.”
Allan encourages anyone to get involved in CDEM initiatives on a local level, because the right training is the key to effective emergency management.
“Most community members want something good to happen in their community., and everybody not directly affected by a CDEM event wants to help. If you want to be involved, you will be useful if you are trained the right way.”