Exercise Scarface

16 July 2018

Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) response teams were put through their paces during a recent 30-hour training exercise.

Exercise ‘Scarface’, jointly run by the Canterbury CDEM Group and Christchurch City Council CDEM, involved ten CDEM response teams from across the South Island. The exercise, based on an Alpine Fault earthquake scenario, ran over a weekend for over 30 hours duration and included over 140 response team members, 150 volunteer subjects and over 20 different exercises/activities, many involving work with other agencies.

Exercise director Janelle Mackie said, “From the early hours of the Saturday morning, teams undertook a wide range of response activities throughout the Christchurch and Selwyn areas. The many activities and exercises included building and rubble pile searches, navigation, light rescue, flood response, four-wheel driving, community assessments, setting up Civil Defence Centres and even a plane crash”.

After visiting the exercise, regional group controller Neville Reilly said, “In both real events and exercises I continue to be impressed with not only the range of skills and knowledge that exists within our CDEM response teams, but also the level of enthusiasm and commitment they show.”

The exercise culminated on the Sunday morning with a scenario involving all response team members being moved by helicopters – one piloted by Richie McCaw!

This response team exercise was run in close collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), both in organising and executing the exercise. The NZDF’s Local Emergency Response Group assisted in field response and mentored and guided the combined CDEM and NZDF incident management team who received taskings and deployed teams. They also provided further support with the use of facilities and catering.

A huge thank you to the large number of individuals and agencies who assisted, including Coastguard New Zealand, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John, NZ USAR Search Dog Association, and many more.

For more information, contact Janelle Mackie at Janelle.Mackie@cdemcanterbury.govt.nz.

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