Are you ready?

That is the question the Wānaka Community Response Group is asking people to keep front of mind.

The group, instigated by Emergency Management Otago and established last year, aims to build community resilience before an emergency situation takes place.

Natural disasters and emergency situations could take many forms, and were not always predictable — but they could be prepared for, response group deputy chairman Matt McPhee said.

The September flooding and cryptosporidium outbreak in Queenstown were recent reminders disaster could happen at any time and take any shape.

Add to that the threat posed by AF8 — an Alpine Fault magnitude 8 earthquake — it was important for people to be prepared, he said.

‘‘The whole idea is building the knowledge base around skills and resources in the community because there’s gonna be a point where . . .we’ll have the big one.

‘‘There will be an earthquake and it’s knowing who’s around, who can help — whether that be tradies or engineers or people with resources — and what they can contribute.

‘‘We don’t know what that’s going to look like, but you know the reality is the big one’s probably going [to] be the AF8.’’

There were three sides to the response group — the role it would have before, during and after an emergency.

Through education, awareness and resilience, people would be better prepared to look after themselves and each other, Mr McPhee said.

‘‘Secondly, emergency resources will be under resourced and thirdly coordination of communication and information.

‘‘Our committee and community volunteers will fill these gaps and will base our team at one of several locations in town where it . . .will set up a community hub.

‘‘Our group has come together and we are ready to stand up in the event of an emergency.

‘‘We have funding allowing the purchase of equipment and a lot of momentum behind what we’re doing.

Are you ready . . . Preparing for disasters are Wānaka Community Response Group committee member Geoff McLeay (left) and deputy chairman Matt McPhee. The group has designated November as a time for people to consider what they would do in a natural disaster or emergency situation. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

‘‘Right now we’re looking to let the community know that we exist and give them information around what we’re going do in the event of emergency and how we can help them, and how they can help themselves as well.’’

Building and fostering community resilience were key, response group committee member Geoff McLeay said.

To raise awareness, the group designated this month as a time for people to consider the question: ‘‘are you ready?’’.

The group was asking people to consider if they were prepared for if a disaster hit.

‘‘What we want people to do is actually think about it, think it through — ‘what will I do? What will my family do?’.’’

Having the conversation now would prevent people being caught out when an emergency happens, Mr McLeay said.

‘‘Part of the success is educating our people in our community.’’

Anyone interested in getting involved in the Wānaka Community Response Group can contact [email protected]