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Helping Others

Whether you are interested in becoming a Civil Defence volunteer, or offer support and assistance within your local community, you can play a vital role in the community in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency.

Community response

A community-led response is any activity run by members of the community, to offer support and assistance to people affected by an emergency. A community-led response does not fall under the direction of Civil Defence but may be supported by or operate alongside a Civil Defence response.

What might people need?

  • Information
  • Food, water, shelter
  • Emotional support
  • Checking on vulnerable people
  • Working bees

Talk to us

We encourage you to let us know what is happening so we can support you if needed. Contact information during an emergency will be on the homepage of this website

How we can help

To help you look after people Civil Defence may:

  • organise the delivery of resources
  • authorise the spending of money and reimburse individuals afterwards
  • arrange a supply and credit line and pay the retailer afterwards

If you make any approved purchases, you'll need receipts to request reimbursement. Unless approved by Civil Defence, any costs incurred remain with individuals.

Work and Income New Zealnd may also be able to help with costs in an emergency. There is a set daily rate for the recovery costs that may be available for those hosting evacuees, payment for food, clothing, and bedding costs may be available, and people may be able to claim for loss of income.

Health and safety

Everybody is responsible for health and safety. However, legally, a community-led response can be comparable to an organisation working for a community purpose that has no employees and is considered a volunteer association. Therefore if this criteria is met, there is no duty, responsibility or liability under the Health and Safety in the Workplace Act (2015).

Trained volunteering

Hawke’s Bay Emergency Response Team

We have a number of volunteer roles community members can fulfil. These roles include Rapid Response, Welfare Response and Communications. Volunteers participate in training and exercises throughout the year to learn and maintain skills, and foster relationships with each other, partner agencies and our staff.

We run training fortnightly on Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 9pm, and every eight weeks we use a day, or sometimes both days of the weekend, to consolidate and exercise the previous four sessions. You need to attend a minimum of 80 per cent of the training to remain a volunteer.

Rapid Response Group – this role has a physical component and specialises in ground-based rescue, rapid reconnaissance and is looking to develop a swift water rescue role to ensure we have cover in Hawke’s Bay.

Welfare Response Group – this role specialises in establishing Civil Defence Centres and providing data collection capability for the welfare team in the Emergency Coordination Centre. Another way to achieve this is door knocking 'outreach', which is often done with other organisations.

Communications Response Group – this role is responsible for establishing and running VHF communications (radio) for the Rapid, Welfare and Emergency Coordination Centre. It also supports other organisations with communications needs.

Data Response Group – this group provides satellite communications using a satellite trailer. The group also provides a network of emailing via VHF radio, known as Data Over Radio Transmission.

Is volunteering right for me? If you have energy, skills, no criminal convictions, mobile phone, email and want to make a difference then contact us and let us know which role you are most interested in.




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