Amy Milne |

Hato Hone St John (HHSJ) is scaling up in preparedness for Cyclone Gabrielle, which is looking likely to bring more adverse weather to the upper North Island in the coming days.

HHSJ National Ambulance Controller, Stuart Cockburn, says HHSJ is on high alert and preparing resources to be deployed to areas most likely to be affected.

“We’re well-placed to deal with weather events and will be proactively moving resources into the areas that are predicted to be hardest hit. We also have business continuity plans in place such as backup generators, vehicles and IT supports, in the event that any of our vital infrastructure is damaged or affected by the cyclone,” he says.

“We are also working alongside our colleagues at Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Police, the New Zealand Defence Force and Te Whatu Ora.”

Mr Cockburn says emergency responses to these types of events have become part of Hato Hone St John’s BAU (business as usual), as it adapts and adjusts to changing weather systems.

“However, it is just very unfortunate that Cyclone Gabrielle is coming so closely off the back of the flooding in Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, and the Coromandel a fortnight ago.”

Mr Cockburn says safety for patients and whānau at home will remain a key priority throughout the event.

“While emergency services have measures in place to reach people who may be cut off due to flooding or slips, we encourage whānau and communities to prepare ahead in case there are delays in reaching them.

“And if someone needs an ambulance, where possible, frontline staff are likely to assess and treat patients at the scene to avoid transportation through severe flooding.”

Mr Cockburn says to support this, additional staff have been rostered into the Communications Centre’s Clinical Support team to review incidents and provide telephone support to crews on scene and clinical telephone advice to patients.

“Whānau can also do several things to keep themselves safe and well, such as ensuring their prescription medications are filled and up to date in case they do become isolated or cut off due to slips or flooding. If unable to get out to pick up your prescriptions contact your doctor or hauora service to see if these can be delivered to you.

“Also keeping in contact with their local health provider or hauora service if they do become unwell and phoning 111 in an emergency and remember to look out for your neighbours and check in on them, particularly elderly kaumatua or those who live alone.”

Mr Cockburn says Hato Hone St John would like to thank everyone that continues to work tirelessly to support affected communities, whether directly or indirectly.

Key advice:

  • People should stay connected with their local health provider or hauora service if they do become unwell and phone 111 in an emergency.
  • Look out for their neighbours and check in on them, particularly the elderly kaumatua or those who live alone.
  • Follow any updates from the local emergency management organisation or your iwi hauora service.
  • Contact the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), community support organisations or your iwi hauora service that can support you to prepare for the weather event such as supplies of kai (food) and drinking water if you are unable to get out and get these.

Note to Editor:
Stuart Cockburn’s name is pronounced Co-burn


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