Health sector gets behind ShakeOut
The health and disability sector is now better prepared to get through a major earthquake, thanks to participation in New Zealand ShakeOut.
In addition to 63,000 health and disability staff registered to drop-cover-and hold as part of the nationwide earthquake drill, many District Health Boards also promoted earthquake readiness in the lead up to the September 26 event.
Director-General of Health Kevin Woods welcomed the participation of 470 health and disability organisations who signed-up to the event, which was an valuable opportunity for health sector staff to consider earthquake preparedness, both at the workplace and at home.
"As we learnt from Canterbury's earthquakes, hospitals and other health services that play a vital role in the aftermath of a big earthquake are also likely to suffer damage and staff resources will be stretched. We must plan as much as we can before such an event so we know how we can cope."
The health and disability sector's approach to NZ ShakeOut largely concentrated on two aspects; individual preparedness and organisation-wide preparedness.
Many District Health Boards ran an extended awareness campaign, focusing on a series of different themes. These included talking about the emergency survival items staff should have at work in their 'Get-home' kits and how they would communicate with both their family / household and their employer.
Organisation-wide preparedness tended to concentrate on business or service continuity plans; ensuring that these were up to date and that staff knew their part in them.
One of the more inventive events was an "EQ Masterchef" competition at MidCentral DHB. Staff were asked to consider how and what they would eat if they had no water or power at home. Some have accepted the challenge to cook a $5 meal and wash-up afterwards using items in their fridge or pantry, no more than two litres of water, one pot and a camping stove. Judging criteria include food safety and nutritional value.
"New Zealand ShakeOut was an important opportunity for all of us to think about our preparedness for an earthquake, and how we can support each other in an emergency, and I encourage everyone to keep planning and preparing in the weeks and months to come," Mr Woods said.