Civil Defence and WREMO
4.0 Context and considerations
4.1 The changing nature of Civil Defence
The role of civil defence organisations is moving from a (perceived) ‘emergency service’ situation to one where capacity and capability live within a community.
WREMO’s Community Response and Resilience Plans focus predominantly on building communities that are empowered and equipped to survive a disaster situation. As the plethora of new technologies enables new communication platforms to be produced, they also need to support this effort in extending and complementing the response tools currently shared with communities through WREMO’s Community Response and Resilience Planning process.
4.2 WREMO processes and resources
4.2.1 SMIRTS and SMARTS
WREMO has workflows that follow established research into how human beings respond to a crisis. Part of the process may include the activation of a Social Media Initial Response Team (SMIRT), where WREMO staff publish appropriate news to social media channels, and monitor online sources for information. This can, if required, be escalated to a Social Media Active Response Team (SMART), which takes responsibility for gathering online information for situational awareness, and sharing pertinent information with the public through social media channels. The SMIRT/SMART system should take into account the need to monitor, moderate and manage data within the Prepare Wellington platform.
Learnings from previous crisis map situations suggest a significant volunteer task force and supplementary information management tools will be needed to ensure content accuracy and timeliness. The SMIRT/SMART process offers a sound basis for future workflows.
4.2.2 Capturing other crisis information
WREMO has processes in place that are built on people in the field phoning or radioing in reports and the information being recorded on paper (Field Reports) by EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) staff.
The Prepare Wellington experience should inform the relationship between WREMO and the crisis zone, offering a streamlined alternative process for gathering pertinent information.
4.2.3 Community-Driven Response Plans
CDRPs are created via consultation with the community and stakeholders. They contain information about resources in the community that could offer immense value in a crisis situation. At present, this information is housed within PDF documents available on the WREMO website. WREMO’s intention is that the CDRPs become a “living document”. Prepare Wellington offers an opportunity to change the practice from creating static information requiring updates by WREMO, moving to a dynamically updated database that is accessible to the whole community, anywhere, and at any time.
individuals and communities are ultimately responsible for their own safety and the security of their livelihoods… individuals and communities must be able to care for themselves and each other, as much as possible, when the normal functions of daily life are disrupted.
– National Civil Defence Emergency Strategy (New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, 2008)