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Buller District Council and West Coast Emergency Management supports Buller Civil Defence Groups

01 Sep 2023

The Buller District Council has allocated $275,000 of Better Off Founding to improve the capabilities of the Buller Emergency Operations Centre and associated community groups.  

During an emergency, many communities in Buller may be isolated for an unknown length of time. Because of this, there are 17 Civil Defence Community Groups active in the district. Buller District Council recognises the importance of each group being able to communicate and support their community when they are effectively cut off from the rest of the world. 

In response, Civil Defence community groups are all receiving Starlink satellite dishes, VHF and UHF radios, solar power stations and solar panels, plus supporting resources to help them communicate and respond in an emergency. The Emergency Operations Centre is also undergoing an IT upgrade. 

Charleston Civil Defence co-ordinator, Sarah Stephen says “The new equipment will enable community teams to respond in a much more professional and timely way, immediately increasing our level of preparedness for responding to an emergency. They have clearly been chosen with great thought, are of good quality, and meet the needs we identified. On a personal level, it makes the work that we do feel recognized, valued and supported in a tangible way.”   

These groups are working on updating their emergency response plans, with members meeting regularly and attending Emergency Management Training sessions. The group leaders also meet monthly with Buller’s Emergency Management Officer Janis Lennon. 

On Saturday 26 August, training providers came to Westport and gave guidance on Starlink and radio usage. The new equipment has now gone out into the community.  

Sarah says “We appreciate Janis advocating for these resources and Buller District Council providing the necessary financial support to make this happen." 


For further information please contact: 
Janis Lennon 
EOC Public Information Management Officer