My diary for yesterday was really quite full - radio checks, Regional Welfare Advisory Group meeting in the Hutt Valley, talking to householders in Aberfeldy St about emergency preparedness - pretty solidly booked. But a bit after 7.30 this morning my phone beeped and came up with the message - Tsunami Warning - threat to New Zealand. Eeep!
I didn't make it to a single meeting.
We actually took it pretty seriously in Porirua. Given the non-event, we probably over-reacted, but the controller & I decided we would do exactly the same thing if it happened again. It was an invaluable learning exercise for our team - with all the focus of an actual, life-threatening situation (even if no lives were actually in danger here - except for some idiot surfers in Titahi Bay perhaps). It highlighted the gaps that need to be remedied, and increased our profile with the businesses and facilities in low lying areas that we contacted. I couldn't have designed a better exercise or PR campaign if I tried! Exercising just isn't the same - there's no sense of urgency, even if you are trying to play in real time, it can all be a bit amorphous and airy-fairy. But this was real people in real time, with real concerns of impending doom. Makes such a difference.
I should keep track of how many times I've been woken up by the National Warning System. This definitely isn't the first or even second time it's happened.
I apologise if I sound a bit flippant about it, but we are truly saddened by the loss of life in the Pacific Islands affected by the tsunami, and our thoughts go out to the residents of Porirua who have lost familiy & friends in this event.
If you wish to help, please think about donating money - do not donate goods - they are nigh impossible to actually deliver to the affected people, it's a logistical nightmare, and very expensive to deal with - unfortunately much actually gets thrown away. Donating money will get what is actually needed directly to where it is needed, with a minimum of fuss.