Emergencies may be caused by natural or human activity, without or with little warning, and when we least expect them.
Flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, chemical contamination of the environment, disease outbreaks are some of the hazards that may impact public health.
Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora) provides advice and information across the four R’s of emergency management; reduction, readiness, response and recovery with a responsibility to reduce the impacts of events to public health. In part, this is achieved by working closely with local authorities, critical infrastructure (lifeline utilities) providers, and other government agencies and businesses to improve community resilience to potential hazards.
Just as the Fire Emergency New Zealand is the lead when responding to a fire, the Health Service, is the lead when responding to a disease outbreak or pandemic.
Prior to and during an emergency Toi Te Ora may be called upon to provide advice on:
- Air quality
- Burials and disinterment
- Contaminated soil/land
- Disease prevention and control measures
- Drinking water
- Hazardous substances, such as chemical spills and asbestos containing materials
- Psychosocial welfare
- Radioactive substances and illness
- Refuse disposal
- Sewage disposal
- Water quality (includes water for sanitation and drinking, fresh and marine recreational water)
- Waste management including refuse collection and disposal
Toi Te Ora has identified possible emergency scenarios and has prepared contingency plans. Staff at Toi Te Ora are trained in emergency response systems to work as a team and manage emergencies in a co-ordinated and effective way.
The overall health goal of Toi Te Ora is to minimize the health risks to communities and individuals in an emergency. An emergency may or may not be a declared civil defence emergency. This is what transpired in 2009 for the H1N1 Pandemic that involved a whole of ‘Health’ lead response which public health services played a key role.
Preparing to stay well during an emergency
Get Ready, Get Thru - this website will show you how to get ready for an emergency, so you'll get through. The site is translated into nine languages including English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan and Arabic. Simply click on the language required and it translates the website.
Download the Hazard App to help you and your family prepare for and respond to hazards in New Zealand. The app is a vital tool to help you get through emergencies and get disaster alerts.
Specific hazard information and advice
Self-Care and Wellness
It’s normal to feel upset after extreme events. If you need support or advice, or have feelings of anxiety, stress, prolonged fear, hopelessness or anger and need to talk with someone, you can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
To access mental health and addiction services near you, go to the Access and Choice website. Services are free and there is no referral criteria.
The below resources may also be helpful:
- Self-care and wellness – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Lakes
- Common reactions to disasters leaflet – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Common reactions to disasters flyer – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Helping children leaflet – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Helping children flyer – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Helping adolescents leaflet – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Need to talk - Ministry of Health
- Coping after a traumatic event - Ministry of Health
- Helping children cope - Mental Health Education and Resource Centre
For more information
- Public Education Toolbox - This toolbox is aimed at supporting those tasked with developing public education programmes for their communities.
- Emergency management – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand
- Emergency Management Planning - Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty
- Emergency Management Planning - Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Lakes
- National Emergency Management Agency
- Ministry of Health
Contact us for more information.