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Source: OUSA


OUSA Student Support, the University of Otago and Civil Defence Emergency Management Otago have joined together to hold the inaugural Emergency Preparedness Week from 2 to 6 September 2019. The full week of events, activities and competitions aims to help students be prepared for a possible emergency in an accessible and engaging way.


Events include:

How on Earthquake? Running from the Monday to Thursday. Survivor meets Big Brother in this Social Media episodic streamed Flat Challenge. One flat tries to survive the three days it would take for local Civil Defence to provide emergency assistance after a natural disaster. Contestants will go three days without power or water and take part in relevant survival challenges to win prizes.


Earthquake Drill – Campus will undergo a ShakeOut drill at 12PM on 3 September.


The Daily Reflection  is an  exhibition highlighting disasters which could happen in Otago, which will run all week. It will also share survivor stories.


The Emergency Preparedness Activity Day on 5 September will give students the opportunity to learn from experts about how to protect themselves and their loved ones during an emergency, while also giving them the opportunity to win prizes and munch on free food. Activities include participation from Fire / Police and St Johns.


Lockdown, a simulated lockdown drill on the Friday at 12PM across campus.


OUSA Student Support is driving Emergency Preparedness Week and Manager Sage Burke says students have faced several emergency type situations in the past few years, including localised power cuts, flooding and snow.   “We hope students will gain an awareness of the many issues which could happen during an emergency, as well as equip themselves with tools and knowledge to prepare for any possibility.

“We want students to know we are there to support them in an emergency but also aid them in developing the resources to help themselves.”


The Emergency Broadcast System will be tested twice during Emergency Preparedness Week, during the ShakeOut earthquake drill and the lockdown drill. It is one of the tools used by the University in the event of an emergency to inform students, staff and the community of an incident and provide instructions or information to them.


“It is important the system is tested regularly to ensure it is operational and that University teams are familiar with how to use it,” Andrew Ferguson, University Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator, says. “With 80 per cent of University students away from home the University has a responsibility to care for them, its staff and the wider community in the event of an emergency”, he says. “Our hope is that we will be able to take care of our own students and staff and also be able to take care of the community as well and lessen the burden on Civil Defence resources.”


All the consequences of a major earthquake, a flood or a storm can happen in everyday life, but when they happen as a result of an emergency then the whole community is affected and it is no longer simple or quick to get help.


Chris Hawker, Director of Emergency Management Otago, says he hopes after the week students will have a better understanding that the unthinkable does happen and if they have thought in advance about what could happen, and made some basic preparations, they will be able to cope and help those around them.  “Students will play a vital role in aiding the community in the event of an emergency. If we look back to Christchurch during 2010 and 2011 we can see the hugely positive impact the Student Volunteer Army had in Christchurch following the earthquakes.


“Otago students would be hugely important to the Dunedin community in the event of a major emergency so teaching them what to do and how to help now could be greatly beneficial in the future.”

If students are adversely affected by any of the issues raised during Emergency Preparedness Week they are encouraged to visit OUSA Student Support for immediate support, or make an appointment with Student Health.




Roles in an emergency

OUSA Student Support will help students with accommodation, wellbeing support, food and financial aid. There is a team specifically able to provide welfare support during an emergency situation and in the immediate and long-term. Student Support will work closely with other agencies to ensure all those affected are supported.


Depending on the type of emergency the University of Otago will activate its Emergency Broadcast system to alert staff, students and others on Campus of the event and provide instructions on what immediate action to take. The Campus may be locked down if required. The Incident Management Team will be activated and are responsible for managing the University’s response to the emergency and assist Emergency Services. The teams are based in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington and are highly trained. In a major event, such as an earthquake, the University will provide emergency accommodation, food and other essential services to students, staff and if possible the wider community.


The Dunedin City Civil Defence Emergency Management team’s role is to lead the response to any major emergency within the City’s jurisdiction and to coordinate all the activities of emergency services, lifeline utilities, members of the community and support groups like Red Cross and Salvation Army. There is a strong network of community volunteers who activate in emergencies. There will be an Emergency Operations Centre set up in Dunedin City (and in every other district of Otago) all focused on their local situation, with Emergency Management Otago’s Regional Team leading an Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) that links all the region-wide activities together. The ECC coordinates all the scarce resources (such as helicopters for rescues, fuel for vehicles) and also provides liaison with the Government and with local councils.



Emergency Preparedness Week detailed running order

Door knocking (1/09-19-2/09/19, all day)

Volunteers from Student Support and Campus Watch will be out in North Dunedin talking to flats about their emergency preparedness.

How on Earthquake? (2/09/19-5/09/19, all day)

The chosen flat will go three days with no power or water and complete survival challenges to win prizes.

The Daily Reflection? (2/09/19-6/09-19, all day)

An exhibition highlighting disasters which could happen in Otago, with an emphasis on North Dunedin. This event will provide information on what to expect, how to be prepared and who can help.

Otago University Shake Out (3/09/19, 12pm)

A University-wide earthquake drill and the Emergency Broadcast System test. Everyone on, in and around the University will be expected to Stop, Cover, Hold at 12pm.

Emergency Preparedness Activity day (5/09/19, 10am-2pm)

Students are encouraged to come along to a day of free food, fun interactive competitions, amazing demonstrations, and of course, to learn what they can do and emergency management services will do to keep them and their loved ones safe in the event of an emergency.

Lock down drill (6/09/19, 12-12:05pm)

A University-wide lockdown drill. Everyone on campus will experience the drill in which all Gallagher controlled doors will lock for five minutes. This will be announced over the Emergency Broadcast System.