Specialist rapid emergency response team candidates are being put through their paces at an intensive 13-day training course, attended by Minister for Emergency Management, Kiri Allan.
“The Emergency Management Assistance Team (EMAT) is a squad of specially trained emergency managers who can go wherever needed at very short notice to assist and support local teams to manage emergencies across all hazards and risks,” Minister Allan said.
“Members have significant experience in crisis response and emergency management in a range of settings in New Zealand and overseas. Each of them brings specialist skills in public information management, strategic communications, operations, planning and intelligence, and iwi and community engagement.”
She said the candidates on the training course came from central and local government agencies from around the country and had a diverse range of backgrounds.
“All 20 demonstrated experience in complex or prolonged incident management environments, as well as strong interpersonal skills during the selection process,” Ms Allan said.
Over the 13-day course, in Wainuiomata, the EMAT candidates and participants from the New Zealand Defence Force and the National Emergency Management Agency will live, eat and learn together.
The course is being delivered by staff from the National Emergency Management Agency, New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry for Primary Industries, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand and will culminate in a 36-hour simulated emergency exercise supported by a wide range of other agencies.
“Since the team launched in September 2019, it has been deployed to assist the West Coast severe weather event in December 2019, flooding in Southland in February 2020, the all of government response to COVID-19 in March 2020, and a Queenstown deployment in May 2020 also part of the COVID-19 response,” the Minister said.
“The dedication and skill these people bring to the role is vital in ensuring New Zealanders receive a consistent level of support in emergencies, no matter where or when they happen.”
More information about the Emergency Management Assistance Team is available at https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/new-zealand-emergency-management-assistance-team/