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Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has today released an internal operational review into its responses to the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in January and February last year.
Releasing the review, National Commander Russell Wood says the operational review highlighted a number of positives for the organisation, which responded to the severe weather events with urgency and commitment.
“I am proud of how all our people responded and supported communities, especially given many were personally impacted in some way. We have heard so many stories of how our people acted with the highest levels of skill, ingenuity and empathy, in the most trying circumstances.
“It’s Fire and Emergency’s usual practice to carry out reviews of significant incidents to learn from them and to support ongoing improvement. The review found opportunities for improvement around the planning and administration processes that support Fire and Emergency personnel during such significant and intense events,” he says.
“Severe weather response is a new and evolving capability for Fire and Emergency and is not one of our legislated main functions. We acknowledge we have a way to go to ensure we are prepared, trained and equipped.
“We will use the Key Insights to improve our organisational approach to planning and operational procedures.
“We will also use these Insights to help us prioritise and improve our training, equipment, resourcing and how we support our people.”
Russell Wood says the two severe weather events were catastrophic and unprecedented.
“At the peak of the Auckland floods on Friday 27 January between 4pm and 9pm, we received 650 calls via the 111 service over a thirty-minute period. We had to prioritise attending incidents where lives were threatened, or elderly or unwell people required rescue”.
“In the case of Cyclone Gabrielle this was the first time our organisation had to deal with such a widespread and severe weather event across so many districts and regions, at the same time.
Lives were lost, including two of our own. Our sympathy remains with the whānau, fri