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Statement by the chairman of the Emergency Precautions Scheme in Palmerston North, Mr. B. Tennant at the Opera House.

Identification

Object type
Correspondence
Digitisation ID
2009Pa_WARBURTON-S12_2873
Title
Newspaper Article: Manawatu Emergency Plans: Full outline given
Format
Paper
Held In
IMCA Digital Archive
Relation
Community Archives
Archive
C. E. Warburton Papers
Identifier
Series 12
Date
1940s

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Palmerston North

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Tags
world war two,
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THE MANAWATU
EMERGENCY PLANS

FULL OUTLINE GIVEN.

APPLICATION TO CITY.

The application of the Emergency
Precautions Scheme to Palmerston
North to cope with the civilian side
in meeting any disaster caused by
war, earthquake or epidemic was out-
lined in a statement by the chairman
of the committee controlling the
scheme in Palmerston North (Mr W.
B. Tennent), which he gave to a pub-
lic gathering in the Opera House last
evening. Mr Tennent set out the need
for a full understanding of the scheme
and said there was the fullest co-opera-
tion between the Home Guard and the
Emergency Precautions Scheme. No
difficulties would arise as to person-
nel.
Mr Tennent pointed out that the scheme
fell under two headings, namely, technical
and wardens. The technical side was
managed by ten committees. Certain com-
mittees such as finance, publicity, records,
supplies and communications, were all
more or less in the hands of experts and
would not require much recruiting from
the public, but certain committees, such
as medical and public health, police, civic
engineering works and service, transport
and fire, would need heavy recruiting
from volunteers from the public.
The medical and public health committee
had the responsibility of selecting and
equipping emergency hospitals, first-aid
posts, the organisation of personnel, am-
bulances and all those medical requirements
for such an emergency. The places to be
used as emergency hospitals and first-aid
stations had all been selected and within
two days could be arranged and fitted out
for 630 hospital beds, and by the end of
the fourth day an extra 200 could be pro-
vided, making a total of 830. Some idea
of the personnel required for those hospi-
tals could be formed from the fact that
they would require at least 460 nurses and
other assistants. For these hospitals alone
approximately 240 nurses were required,
but as it would be almost impossible to
obtain this work, a large part of it would
have to be done by aids. The remainder of
the staff would be made up of clerks, dis-
pensers, cooks, males and females for gen-
eral duties.
First-aid posts had been selected for the
immediate treatment of casualties. From
these patients would be sent either to the
hospitals or back to their homes as their
circumstances warranted. These posts would
require approximately 50 nurses and aids,
60 orderlies, stretcher-bearers and clerks,
along with a large number of messengers.
Ambulance drivers and staff would also be
required, so it would be seen how large a
task lay before the St. John Ambulance,
Red Cross and various women’s organisa-
tions in providing this personnel. And
yet this was only part of the personnel re-
quired in the whole scheme.
Police.—The duties of this committee
related to law and order. The police would
need to be augmented by approximately
140 men for patrols and street wardens,
the number of whom has yet to be com-
pleted.
Civic engineering works and service.—
This group comprised all supply services
—electricity, gas, telephones, water, street
cleaning, sewerage, rescue parties, erection,
conversion or demolition of buildings, oil
and petrol storage, etc. The nature of the
disaster would determine the number of
men required. All earthquake or war de-
struction would make an enormous staff
necessary. This work would require the
City Council’s electric staff along with
that of the Power Board and electricians
throughout the city, the waterworks staff
and plumbers in the city, gasworks staff,
carpenters and general workmen in large
numbers.
Transport.—This committee had control
of all the transport for all branches of the
scheme and covered a wide field. Many
vehicles, such as those suitable for am-
bulances, carrying work, special passengers,
petrol supplies, railway [goods?], and passen-
gers, would be required. There would also
be a call for women drivers, and those who
had taken the transport course under the
Women’s War Service Auxiliary would be
most useful.
Fire.—This was under the control of the
Fire Brigade and here again the present
staff would require to be augmented con-
siderably. The fire brigade superintendent
would require an extra 50 auxiliaries and
approximately 180 fire patrolmen. These
required to be men of good character and
they would be trained in the methods
of dealing with incipient fires and fires
caused by incendiary bombs, etc.
Wardens.—The function of wardens could
be stated briefly, the control and discipline
of the population. The city was divided
into blocks and at the head of each block
there was a block warden who had a num-
ber of team wardens. Each team warden
had approximately ten men in his team.
Their duties were to control all the people
in their areas. They must get to know the
people so that in the event of an emerg-
ency each householder would know to whom
to turn for help and advice. All these
men should have a knowledge of first aid.
Mr Tennent said he was not yet in a posi-
tion to say exactly how many men would
be required, but it would certainly be not
fewer than 200. Such men in England had
done wonderful work during raids.
Women’s work.—This would take quite
a time to detail and he proposed at a later
date to give a special talk on this subject.
In the meantime, as many women as men
would be required. In this scheme there
was a place for young, middle-aged and
aged. The Women’s War Service Auxili-
ary, under the direction of Miss Warbur-
ton and Miss Grant, in conjunction with
himself, had undertaken the organisation
of the work. Women would be required for
stenographers, and typists, for visiting
homes and care for the aged, first aid,
home nursing, ambulance training, care of
children, nursing and hospital aids, sewing
and mending, laundry work, food prepara-
tion, cooks, waitresses, kitchen work, street
wardens, fire drill, transport and messen-
gers.
Numbers. Mr Tennent said he was not
yet in a position to give the exact num-
bers required in the whole scheme. That
could not be done until the reports from
committees were completed, but an ap-
proximate estimate was from 1800 to 2000
(more than half of whom will be women)
if the scheme was to function in its en-
tirety. He appealed to all sections of the
community to register immediately as he
could not complete arrangements without
the necessary personnel. The people should
not wait until a disaster was upon them
before seeking a position; in that way they
would only cause panic and disorder. By
joining in the scheme they would definitely
be assisting the war effort.