Safety First At Coastal Villas

Safety meeting at Coastal Villas

Natural disasters can happen at any moment, so it’s important to be prepared. When disaster strikes, it can take time before Civil Defence is able to reach everyone in the affected communities, including in retirement villages.

To ensure residents are well-equipped, Metlifecare Coastal Villas recently held an emergency hub drill to teach residents how to prepare for a flooding disaster.

Community Wardens Team Leader Heather Kinsey is leading the charge in disaster preparation by hosting an emergency hub drill where residents were taught to create a “grab and go” emergency bag.

At the event, residents also volunteered as “actors” who practised responding to a flooding scenario, one of the main hazards for those living in the Kāpiti area.

Allocating roles, the group helped the actors to find food and warm clothing, problem-solving through the various issues that may arise at the village if a flood were to occur.

It was great to see the enthusiasm of the team and how well everyone did. I feel confident that when a real event happens, we at Coastal Villas will be ready, willing and able,” Heather said.

The scenarios included residents acting as someone anxious and nervous, pretending to be soaking wet with no dry clothes, and acting distressed due to a missing pet cat.

It was all very true to life in an emergency hub!” Heather said.

Supported by two members from the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO), residents involved in the activity said they felt more confident after practicing the skills they had been learning about in the session.

Having a plan and practicing it with others is one of the key aspects of preparing for a major event like flooding, earthquakes or a tsunami,” said Renee Corlett, WREMO Emergency Management Advisor.

It’s so important for people who live independently in retirement villages to be both personally prepared and ready to support their street and neighbours,” Renee said.

Heather says she is proud to call Coastal Villas the “poster boy” for retirement villages emergency planning on the Kāpiti Coast, as WREMO looks at ways to encourage other villages to follow in Metlifecare’s footsteps.

To keep residents informed in-between training sessions, Heather writes a regular column in the Coastal Villas village newspaper advising residents on emergency management preparation.

Those are the people who could be your main source of support for up to seven days, so the more prepared you are together, the better!” Renee said.

The emergency planning doesn’t stop there either; with refresher training planned for residents in August, the hub to be set up in November and an earthquake exercise in February next year.

Heather says support from the village manager is crucial to the success of a village’s emergency planning and feels fortunate to have Carol Futcher’s unswerving support.

Carol ensures her staff attend the training sessions, and also takes part in the exercises herself,” Heather says.

Well-equipped to help train residents on the topic, Heather is a member of the local Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Team, and has practical experience assisting during disasters, including being in Canterbury throughout the earthquakes in 2010.

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