Who is Civil Defence ?

During this time of heightened awareness and a lot of things happening around our city, it is important that we know who is doing what for our city to keep us informed and also helping us to get through.

This mornings post from WREMO has struck a cord with me and I thought I would post it here, please make sure to look at their facebook page and web site for more information.


So the media is currently full of articles saying “Civil Defence says…”, and there seems to be lots of different levels to who Civil Defence is, from things happening in community halls in Kaikoura through to the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, and half of them seem to be doing conflicting things from the others, and it’s all a bit confusing. So who exactly is Civil Defence? It’s not a particularly easy answer because it’s not one organisation, it’s a big co-operative effort at different scales.

Locally, in your city or district, when there’s no emergency going on, it’s your local Emergency Management Office – in the Wellington Region, that’s WREMO, working on behalf of the eight city and district councils, and the regional council. We work with all our partner agencies – councils and their associated organisations (like Wellington Water), Police, Fire, Health and other welfare support agencies, lifeline utilities, Defence, SPCA etc. to work on planning and preparedness.

We’re not regional or local branches of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, we’re part of local government, effectively a department of your local council.

When an emergency event happens, WREMO kind of goes away, and locally Civil Defence is your local city or district council staff working with and coordinating our partner agencies to fix the problems from the event. When the emergency is big enough, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is also up and running in the National Crisis Management Centre (“the bunker” under the Beehive), coordinating the efforts of all the national and ministry levels of the same partner agencies that we’re working with, and they’ll be putting out messages too, but with a more national focus – and the media lumps us all together as “Civil Defence”.

In some of the country’s recent events we hear comments like, “I haven’t seen anyone from Civil Defence yet,” but if you ask them if they’ve seen Police, or Fire, or someone from council, and the answer is yes. They just haven’t realised that what they have seen is Civil Defence. Not everyone from Civil Defence has the logo, because it’s everyone working together. – Kerry