4 May 2010

Emergency system concerns West Coast community

11:20 am on 4 May 2010

A remote South Island community is concerned about a new Civil Defence emergency management information system.

The computer database system relies on the internet to transfer information between the National Crisis Management Centre and regional councils to co-ordinate emergency responses.

It is part of a $2.8 million upgrade to Civil Defence's emergency response.

But the Civil Defence's emergency management office on the West Coast says telecommunications can be affected badly in a disaster.

Allan Wilson, of Grey District, says one of the biggest fears is a shift in the Alpine fault, which could damage the fibre optic network.

Mr Wilson says the office says it will have to look at installing a costly satellite system to ensure that it has emergency communications.

The Ministry of Civil Defence says it is the regional council's responsibility to ensure it has alternative systems in place.