- If the potential consequences of the two fires merging and the risk of evacuations had been considered and communicated to the Christchurch EOC earlier it would have enabled the EOC to inform residents that evacuations may be required. This would have allowed residents to prepare for evacuations, including making arrangements for pets and removing important possessions. It would also have enabled better planning and management of the evacuation and cordon processes.
- The information flow to affected residents and the wider public during the initial days of the fires was not always timely or sufficient and this created anxiety in the community.
The review also found that if the declaration of a state of local emergency had been made earlier, this would have raised public awareness of the potential danger, as well as providing confidence that all available resources were being used to fight the fires. Making public confidence one of the criteria for declaring a state of emergency is one of the recommendations from the national review into the structure and operation of Civil Defence Emergency Management.
We applied some of the lessons from the Port Hills fire during the state of emergency that was declared in July 2017 due to flooding with positive results.