12 April 2019
Emergency Management Southland (EMS) was recognised last night at the SOLGM Local Government Excellence® Awards, winning the BERL Award for Collaborative Government Action for their work leading Project AF8.
The Alpine Fault is likely to generate a magnitude 8 earthquake within the lifetime of the current population of New Zealand, with major short and long-term impacts. Project AF8 brings science and emergency management planning together to build awareness of the Alpine Fault hazard, develop a credible scenario for a future rupture, produce the South Island Alpine Fault Earthquake Response (SAFER) framework, and provide ongoing community engagement work building resilience across the South Island.
Project AF8 Chair and EMS manager Angus McKay said it was very rewarding to receive the award. “We started planning this project 4 years ago on the back of a napkin at Christchurch Airport and now AF8 has become a model of science and emergency managers working together to be better prepared for one of New Zealand’s biggest hazards. That we’ve come so far is testimony to the ongoing commitment of all those involved.
The judges noted that Project AF8 is a striking example of local government leading a response to an issue that has a national impact. The project joins effective communication of robust science with the skill, foresight and commitment that effective emergency management requires.
Judges described the project as an exemplar of emergency management planning that agencies around the world should emulate.
“Looking to the future, we’re at a very exciting stage in the project, making AF8 an ongoing sustainable programme of work across all hazards in the South Island that focuses on Civil Defence planning, impacts on tourism, economy, and long-term recovery from any large scale emergency,” said Angus.
A recent roadshow titled ‘Science Beneath Our Feet’ saw leading Alpine Fault scientists visiting 12 communities around the South Island to talk about what the impact of an AF8 event might look like.
More information about the project including an award-winning short video series is available at https://projectaf8.co.nz/.