People gathered outside a Community Emergency Hub ready to assist their community. Two people are walking towards the hub pushing a wheelbarrow and carrying a spade. There is a person greeting them and pointing towards the hub who is wearing a yellow lany

Community response to emergencies

Communities are full of skilled and resourceful people, businesses, groups, and facilities that could help solve many of the challenges that your community will face after an earthquake. 

Community Response

In a major emergency, official services are likely to be overwhelmed during a disaster and may not be able to respond to every issue immediately. Emergency and council services must prioritise the most urgent call-outs. 

Everyone will have to pitch in and help each other.

Did you know, all the skilled people you need in an emergency are already in your community?

There are people in your neighbourhood who have all the skills you need to help – people just like you!

Community Emergency Hub Infographic
  • During disasters, councils and emergency services aren't the only ones responding.
  • Communities have many of the skills and resources needed to solve problems and help each other.
  • Community Emergency Hubs are a way for people to work together to solve problems locally while still coordinating with councils about really big problems

After a disaster, solve problems close to home first

  • Your first priority is to do what you can to make you and your households safe
  • If you can help other households or need help with yours, go out and check with your neighbours. 
  • If there are people In your neighbourhood who are able to help others or need help themselves, check the surrounding streets to see what can be done. Many problems can be solved at this level. 

Then go to your local Community Emergency Hub

  • Hubs are a place for the community to congregate and coordinate their response to assist each other. They are not reliant on the physical building, so if the Hub becomes unsuitable, you can move to a better venue.
  • The Hub has a basic start-up kit consisting of an AM/FM radio, maps and a Civil Defence VHF radio that allows communication with the wider official response if phone lines are not working.
  • Other community support groups may also self-organise in your area, and the official response may come in, if needed. Work with them to make sure everyone in need is reached, the workload is shared, and the overall response is efficient and coordinated.
  • People working at the Hub have no legal powers to take resources from anyone or force anyone to do anything. All laws still apply in an emergency. 

Your local Emergency Operations Centre will support your activities

  • If help is needed within your community that the community can't provide themselves, let the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) know. They may be able to get help from a community near you or from city resources. Likewise, if you have people or resources that could help outside your community, let the EOC know.
  • If more than one EOC is active, they might need to coordinate with each other.  They do this through the Emergency Coordination Centre which connects councils with regional and national resources. 

Community Response Plans

Some of our communities have worked together to identify the local resources they have available to try to solve these challenges. You can see whether your community has done some planning by checking out the Community Emergency Hub Guide specific to your neighbourhood. 
In communities that have not yet been through that planning process, these are prompts and questions that may help you find solutions. If you would like to help with identifying the resources of your community, contact us
Check out our calendar of events to see if there are any community response planning meetings scheduled near you. 

Next: Part 1 of the Hub Guide