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Taking control .. Civil Defence duty controller Justin Bagust was among those who helped get South Canterbury through its recent state of emergency. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

What does your role involve?
The four main parts are the 4 Rs: reduction, readiness, response and recovery.
[I have] to understand the risk profile of our district and the potential hazards our communities might face.

It’s also about building relationships with partner agencies and raising the profile of Civil Defence, ensuring there are people, groups and systems in place that can be called upon to act in an event.

[I bring] together all the partner agencies in a room [during an emergency]and [discuss] what is going on, who needs assistance, who can provide assistance [and] what resources are available.

I go over situational reports every couple of hours and out of this create an action plan for the next one and a-half to two hours.

Who do you report to and who reports to you?
I report to our group controller who is in charge of Canterbury-based local controllers (normally via conference call every three to four hours).

I also report to the CEO and mayor regularly to ensure they are informed of what [is] happening during an event.

The team leaders of the EOC all report to me during an event. This info assists with creating an action plan.

What do you enjoy about the role?
I enjoy the feeling of being part of the solution, the team spirit and coming together to solve issues and problems.

I love problem solving and the people here in Timaru are wonderful. I love being part of this community.

In the event of Timaru’s recent state of emergency, what were you aiming to achieve in your role?
First and foremost was to prevent loss of life and minimise the risk of injuries to anyone.

In this regard, Timaru did really well (with no loss of life [or] reported serious injuries).

The community rose up to the occasion and helped each other out, whether that was checking on neighbours, moteliers giving a discount to displaced residents or companies offering services free to help out, right down to the public following our advice and staying off the roads if possible and driving to the conditions.

If there were another state of emergency, what three things would you like the community to remember?
Be prepared. There is no substitute to being ready before there is an event (having emergency supplies, checking in with your neighbours [if they] are elderly, sick or would need assistance in an event.

[It is] good to know [this] before an event happens.

Check our website/Facebook page for the latest updates during an event, and most of all, keep yourself and your family safe.