Have skills, will travel

From raging bush fires, to searching for a tiny, but potentially devastating fly – when the call comes, our staff are ready and able to spring into action.

Northland Regional Council staff are often asked to help out in other parts of the country, where their skills or expertise are needed.

Lately, we’ve been lending a hand on two large-scale responses – the Nelson Tasman fires, and the fruit fly incursion on Auckland’s North Shore.

Three members of our Northland Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) team – CDEM manager Graeme McDonald and officers Shona Morgan and Claire Nyberg – recently spent a week supporting the Tasman bush fires emergency response team.

Graeme, whose role was to support the head of the emergency response, says nothing can really prepare you for these situations until you experience them first hand.

“We learn so much every time we are part of an emergency, which helps us to prepare and be ready if ever Northland has an emergency.”

Shona worked with the Red Cross and other welfare teams to assist evacuees.

“The 13-hour shifts can be tough on you both mentally and physically, but it also grows your own personal resilience so you are better able to assist those in need. It’s great to feel you are making a difference.”

Closer to home, our staff were also asked to help out after the discovery of a fruit fly in Auckland triggered a large biosecurity response.

His familiarity with the Biosecurity Act – and the powers available in an incursion – meant Biosecurity Officer Curtis Harris could step in as a surveillance manager in the response.

In this role Curtis has been part of a large operation which includes setting and monitoring traps, collecting and checking fruit, liaising with a range of agencies and the teams on the ground.

With a range of skills and experience right across Northland Regional Council, it’s great to be able to lend a hand when the call for help comes from other regions.

NRC staff members with Fiona Fliss of Red Cross.

NRC staff Claire Nyberg (left) and Shona Morgan (right) with Fiona Fliss (centre) of Red Cross.