Developing a Community Response Plan is the best way to make sure that your community will get through an emergency.

When a disaster happens aid may not be available for three days or more. You will need to rely on, and help the people around you to get through. There may be people in your neighbourhood or community who are vulnerable, injured, or have lost their homes. These people will need extra support from you.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a disaster is to connect with your community:

  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Share your "in case of an emergency" contact details with your neighbours so they know how to contact you in an emergency
  • Ask your neighbours about their Emergency Plan and tell them about yours
  • Help to develop a Community Response Plan...

Community response planning

Developing a Community Response Plan is the best way to make sure that you and your community will get through an emergency.

A Community Response Plan can include;

  • A description of the community and the hazards faced by the community
  • A description of what the community will do in an emergency, including where food, water, shelter, fuel, medical services and vulnerable people are located
  • Identify where the community will meet in an emergency, and how to evacuate, if necessary
  • A description of how the community will liaise with Civil defence and other emergency services


If you are interested in developing a plan for your community, contact the Civil Defence officer in your local council and they would be able to assist you.

Community Response

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities

After the 2010/11 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, guidelines were developed to help authorities engage more effectively with communities with different cultures and languages. This was to help make sure these communities get the help they need in a disaster.

You can read the full report here:


Advice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities

New Zealand’s population is growing more and more culturally diverse. In times of disaster, CALD communities have enormous capacity to respond, but it must also be ensured that there is no language (or other) barrier to prevent this from happening.

Here is some advice to help your CALD Community get the support you need during and following a disaster and to feel connected to the subsequent rebuild of you community.

Develop strong leadership
  • Leaders need to support their community and make sure others are doing this too. Leaders need to ask for help to grow in this role, and take part in opportunities available to learn to be more effective as a leader.

Reach out to local communities and engage with them
  • Invite neighbours and friends to cultural celebrations and get to know the people who live near you. These connections are helpful when disaster occurs.

Develop resiliency and preparedness
  • Learn the hazards that your community may be exposed to

  • Get the community prepared by talking about emergency planning and offering practical help to community members as they prepare disaster kits.

  • Consider supporting a community member to have a civil defence role within the community – someone who can learn about disaster management and pass this information on to the community. This person can be a key contact alongside the community leader, supporting them in times of disaster.

  • Promote people’s right to an interpreter when dealing with government agencies, and help CALD community members to be able to request this service.

Know who your vulnerable members are
  • Have a plan in place to ensure they are supported

Work in with Government agencies
  • Let agencies know what you expect so they can adjust the way they work with each community.

  • Invite key agencies to base a worker at CALD community hubs.

  • Let agencies know how they can best get information to members of your CALD community.

  • Make sure your community’s information is included in CALD emergency databases and update this regularly.

  • Let agencies know about the good things you are doing to communicate, connect with and support your own community following disaster - own language websites, phone trees/chains, radio shows and stations, other media etc.