by Isla Huffadine

New Civil Defence tool helps Otago Get Ready

Emergency Management Otago is encouraging residents across the region to sign up to Gets Ready, a two-way communication tool which helps people better prepare for emergencies and be more informed, coordinated and resilient when they occur.

Gets Ready is a well-established system that was set up in the Selwyn District after the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes, and is now being rolled out across Otago as part of Emergency Management Otago’s commitment to improving across the '4 Rs' - reduction, readiness, response and recovery.

Gets Ready will better connect people in their neighbourhoods and help them look after each other by sharing resources, supporting those who are more vulnerable, and linking with Civil Defence to build a clear understanding of what a community needs during emergencies and what resources and skills Emergency Management Otago can draw on in any particular area.

“Rather than mass alerts, the Gets Ready email and text alert system will help us target and send localised information to residents about situations that directly affect them, from small-scale events (boil water notices or fire bans) to major emergencies like earthquakes, floods, fires, severe weather events, and tsunamis/seiches,” said Mr Gibson. “The targeting tool is particularly powerful – we can now pinpoint suburbs and streets, right down to the side of a street or a household.”

Gets Ready also provides a channel for residents to pass on-the-ground intelligence back to the Emergency Operations Centre via their Community Response Groups. This helps Civil Defence co-ordinate a targeted response and get information and help to where it’s most needed, quickly and effectively

The Gets Ready system does not supersede the National Emergency Alerts which are pushed through cell towers, or individual Council alerts, rather it supplements them by providing more detailed, localised information through additional channels.

To register for Gets Ready, follow the quick and easy three-step process:

1. Either scan the Otago Gets Ready QR code or go to to log your contact details.

2. Fill out the Resources, Skills and Needs section with any relevant details – you can choose to share as much or as little information as you wish.

3. Once you receive the activation email (check your Junk Mail if it doesn’t come through within a few minutes) and click on the link to activate your profile. All information is held privately and securely and is only accessible to authorised Civil Defence staff.

Image by: Isla Huffadine