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The CDEM Act 2002: What it means for emergency services
To help make our society resilient to disasters, the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act stipulates the responsibilities and roles of key agencies. If you work in an emergency service (Police, Fire, Hospital and Health services) this Act affects how you carry out continuity planning and how you relate to other emergency services, local authorities and your communities. Dependent upon contractual arrangements, these expectations may also affect other emergency responders such as ambulance services, coastguard and volunteer reserves.

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What the Act says

Your service must:

  • help define the Crown’s CDEM goals and objectives in a National CDEM Strategy
  • participate in the development of a National CDEM Plan
  • provide senior representation at regional chief executive level committees to coordinate and direct CDEM Group planning and activities (CDEM Groups are consortia of regional authorities and emergency services)
  • undertake any CDEM functions or duties specified in a CDEM plan.

What this means

Your service is expected to:

  • coordinate its risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery activity with your regions local authorities, other emergency services and lifeline utilities
  • participate in developing coordinated CDEM Group plans within each region for how the Group manages its hazards
  • Provide technical advice on CDEM issues to the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management or a CDEM Group.
There is an expectation that as an emergency service your organisation is able to function to the fullest possible extent during and after an emergency – through sound continuity planning.

Will your emergency service meet the CDEM Act’s expectations?
Test your organisation with the following checklist. List the services your organisation provides to New Zealanders during a major emergency. For example – “The NZ Fire Service provides urban fire suppression and search and rescue.”
Answer the following questions. Score: Yes = 2, Partially = 1, No = 0

Has your service…
  1. Developed procedures to ensure continuity of business for its business units?
  2. Considered external risks (eg dependence upon other services, utilities, departments or contractors)?
  3. Assessed risk in consultation with similar agencies, not in isolation?
  4. Considered how CDEM priorities impact your planning for emergency response (rescue and triage, law and order, medical and welfare, fire-fighting)?
  5. Linked planning and operational relationships with local authorities, other emergency services and lifeline utilities within the regional CDEM Group?
  6. Planned in a cross-agency manner to optimise service during emergencies, through processes such as CIMS (Coordinated Incident Management System)?
  7. Determined how the service’s units communicate within and across sectors during an emergency?
  8. Validated planning by exercising, individually and collectively?
  9. Developed an ability to reconfigure response delivery to meet ‘the unexpected’ (contingency planning)?
  10. Established mechanisms cross-regionally or internationally to source personnel and resources unavailable due to the emergency?
  11. Shared and applied examples of best practice risk management across business units within your service?

Scores
0-9: Risk management too internally focused. Vulnerable to external risks. Weak relationships with CDEM agencies.
10-17: External risk considered. Continue to improve business resilience by strengthening external relationships and cooperative planning.
18-22: Sound risk, asset and emergency management. Cooperative planning. Continue to protect ability and reputation by improving relationships and testing and reiterating plans. Publicise and capitalise on success.

Note: The above checklist and ratings are subjective examples only