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Severe Weather: Essential Services may need to reconfigure workforce, Public should prepare mindset

Natural disasters may still occur despite the Covid-19 lockdown and with an Easter blast forecast in a number of regions many Essential Services/Businesses may need to completely reconfigure their workforces from the normal every day team structures. 

From fire crews to police, electricity workers to telecommunications, call centres, building/construction companies and supermarkets all need to rethink how to operate during adverse weather events – or what to do in the result of any natural disaster.  

With Covid-19 this complicates things.  

Crews are smaller and some large businesses have a policy to limit crews/staff from attending single events. These businesses have a duty of care to protect their people from COVID-19 risks while still continuing to operate as an essential service. 

We often think of those who go out in emergencies to fix things or help us, but remember many managers and people are working from home, even in Essential Services. This means if a storm hits, people won’t be all in one room to plan – it will be done remotely. There will be awareness of how this may change usual response times. New social distancing policies means it could make responding to weather problems, or a natural disaster, that much more difficult – and slower. 

There is still uncertainty about just how windy this Sunday and Monday will be, but the potential for powercuts and some damage in both islands is there.  This is a borderline event which means it could easily become more severe quite quickly, but likewise gale force winds forecast in some places may not reach damaging ‘severe’ criteria. It’s one to monitor very closely over the next few days.

It’s not just those working in essential services that need to be prepared. Should gales cut your power supply or even lift your roof, it may now take longer for assessments and repairs to occur. 

Both the every day public and Essential Services need to be prepared to manage power cuts and road closures – and a delay in getting services fixed.

Not to mention this big one: Being mentally prepared in advance for more than just staying at home but the possibility of losing something that has made the lockdown at little (or a lot) easier: Your internet, phones and/or power.  

Covid-19 does not mean people need to buy water – but power cuts and storms are that reminder that we do need at least a few days of fresh water, per person and per pet as well as other essential items like torches, batteries for torches and radios, and additional food and water. 

“She’ll be right, mate”
More than likely many Kiwis will get through Easter Weekend without too many severe weather dramas – in fact some regions have lovely sunny and mild weather. But we can’t just say “she’ll be right” either, especially in these more challenging times. 

When you plan ahead it reduces anxiety and that can help make a potentially stressful or difficult experience much easier to manage – from the every day Kiwi and Kiwi families, to those running and working in Essential Services. 

Kia Kaha, plan ahead and try to stay positive. We’re all in this together and here for one another.



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