Community Resilience a Key Focus

Community resilience in Mackenzie District communities is a key focus of recently appointed Mackenzie District Council Emergency Management Officer, Phill Mackay.

Phill joined the Council in early September and brings 27 years’ emergency management experience to the role.

A firefighter since 1990, Phill has been a career firefighter for the Timaru Fire Brigade and a volunteer for the Fairlie Volunteer Fire Brigade since 2012. He is currently Chief Fire Officer for the Fairlie Brigade, a position he’s held since March 2016.

In his new role, Phill is really looking forward to supporting local communities so they are well prepared to deal with emergency events.

The Mackenzie District is prone to snow, wind and flooding events, all of which have occurred in recent years, Phill says.

“A key part of my role is to work with people across the district so that our communities are better prepared to handle emergency situations. This is particularly important in a predominantly rural district such as ours, as often communities can be isolated for long periods of time when an emergency occurs.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting people throughout the district to talk with them about emergency management and how we can work together. My main aim is help our communities identify risks and increase their readiness so they can respond and recover to an emergency event.”

Phill says there are some great emergency management tools coming on stream. These include a National Emergency Mobile Alert System that will be live in late November. The system gives Civil Defence the capability to send a text message to smart phones in an area that is affected by an emergency event. That was what happened early in the morning of the 4th October when it was being tested by the developers in Europe.

As well as this system, a Red Cross hazard app is already available on smartphones. The app alerts users to emergency events in their local area and provides specific information about how to prepare for different types of emergency events.

Phill’s role is based at the Council offices in Fairlie. He can be reached by email: emofficer@mackenzie.govt.nz or phone: 03 685 9010.

This week (9-15 October) is Civil Defence’s national campaign week with a theme of `Stay Safe, Stay Informed’. More information is available on the Ministry of Civil Defence website www.civildefence.govt.nz

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