What is Gets Ready?
It is a purpose built website where residents can –
- receive emergency alerts to keep them safe. These include boil water notices, wind, fire, snow warnings etc. They can arrive as email or text messages.
- securely record their contact details and any special needs, resources & skills they want to share, to help their local community look after each other in an emergency.
- Community Response Team members or street contacts can send Situation Reports to the Emergency Operations Centre. These situation reports include mapped locations, photos and structured information.
There’s some Frequently asked Questions in the list below – designed to introduce Gets Ready to the public.
1.New to Gets Ready?
For anyone who is wondering about Gets Ready - hopefully the items below help to answer your questions.
Gets Ready is recognised by Civil Defence - it received an innovation award from the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management in 2016.
- a purpose built web system where residents can securely record their contact details and any special needs, resources and skills they want to share, to help their local community look after each other in an emergency.
- the tool your Council could use if your area was part of a Gets Ready system. Gets Ready is used to share emergency warnings. These may include wind, snow, fire warnings, water quality warnings and fire rules and other messages with members. They arrive as email and / or texts. Those warnings let you share the information with those who are not on email or text, but are part of your neighbourhood.
- a system that has been built with Neighbourhood Support and Civil Defence groups in mind.
- used by Christchurch (7,000 households), Selwyn District (7,500 households), Te Awamutu (3,000 households) and North Canterbury (2,000 households).
- a set of tools. A key tool is the Situation Report - allowing key members of Civil Defence/Neighbourhood Support groups to send information to appropriate authorities. Photos and structured information in a Situation Report keep emergency services informed.
- ready to roll out across New Zealand. We just need some sponsorship.
It is maintained by residents, for residents and you can be involved. Join in your local system, and talk with your local Gets Ready contacts.
The Selwyn District, in Canterbury has (April 2017) about 7,500 members and here is what the Civil Defence Controller has to say about their use of Gets Ready-
'Selwyn District Council are fully supportive of this software initiative. It is an excellent product for community groups to support their interaction with a Council’s Emergency Operations Centre. It is also a great way of building community resilience. During recent fire events, we were able to promptly alert the communities in our District at risk from the fire and advise them of safety actions to take. During flood and extreme wind events, the software allows our community response teams to capture their community issues and either resolve themselves or forward to us at EOC via the Selwyn Gets Ready web site. The software also allows for community contact information to be captured which means that we can also keep communities informed via agreed protocols about other community issues’
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Dave and Virginia Askin were Civil Defence volunteers for some years. We were regularly frustrated in that role. Systems were lacking. There were no tools for communities to manage local information around people's needs, their unique skills and resources of value during an emergency. The focus was top down. Wait three days and we (Civil Defence) will be there was the message. Communities need to be prepared to act together, and in partnership with Emergency Management teams. It's part of being resilient. Part of being good neighbours together and building strong communities.
September 4th 2010. Along came a massive earthquake where we were thrown to the floor, then literally bounced up and down off the floor. (G forces greater than 1 were measured just down the road).
Those earthquakes got us started down the path of thinking again of how communities cope - become resilient - in the face of overwhelming disasters.
Dave rang Wellington Civil Defence expecting they would have a national vision for tools that communities would use as standard through each of New Zealand's communities. Not so.
About that time Bev Elder introduced us to Dave Wilkinson - the Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator for Christchurch who had 2,000 worksheets in multiple spreadsheets. That mess of data was totally unhelpful in terms of management during any emergency.
Gets Ready got started- as an informal partnership between us and Christchurch Neighbourhood Support. They found some funding to help with some costs of paying developers.
After a year or two Selwyn Council came on board and have been strong supporters, helping with some of the development costs and providing many ideas for improvements. This version 2 is to a large extent their vision around ease of use and clarity. It's not perfect yet, but we remain on the road with tools for communities that can be standard throughout New Zealand.
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Gets Ready is used to send emergency texts or emails. These can include boil water notices, uncontrolled fire, wind and snow alerts. Of course there are people who won't get important alerts and so ... we hope that those receiving messages share them with their neighbours.
Gets Ready is all about getting to know your neighbours which creates a more caring safer neighbourhood. You get to share information with your neighbours who may not be connected to the internet.
The Gets Ready website is a database which contains contact information for local residents. This information is used by local community response teams to identify who needs assistance in an emergency and who has skills or resources (like first aid skills or generators) that could help in a disaster.
In a disaster a network of community response teams operates and they check on the welfare of their community, identifying what needs to be done in their area and requesting assistance if needed.
Access to household information is restricted to street contacts and local community response teams and can't be viewed by the public.
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Your privacy is really important. We have had 7 years developing Gets Ready. We've made some changes over the years as people have debated who should be able to see anything about street and area contacts.
We've settled on zero information sharing with the public. The public see nothing of the information relating to people in Gets Ready. A household can join - indeed you are encouraged to join and then those community members, who have agreed roles in Gets Ready, who look after your area can see the information you share to allow you to assist in an emergency or be helped in an emergency.
There's two kinds of people in a Gets Ready system.
- The public who join, but have no role in Gets Ready and they get called members.
- Those who join and become street or area contacts. They have roles, often working alongside emergency professionals during an emergency.
Your details may be shared with emergency services if needed, but otherwise we will not give your details to anyone else. (OK, you are right,... those hosting the system could see your info, but they've got other things on their mind, like making sure they keep the system going really well!)
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Your information is protected by the password you have chosen and the steps our developers have taken to encrypt and keep all information away from hackers.
Details are encrypted by https secure transports.
Remember – only offer the information you are happy to share with those working to keep you safe during an emergency.
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As a member there's not much expected of you. We hope you would support your neighbours if they need it.
Please keep your contact details up to date so important messages can get to you.
Use the contact us form when you need a hand.
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Neighbourly is a social media tool, very like Facebook.
Gets Ready is a tool for communities to record and share information in a structured way and for councils to share emergency information when it affects you.
Gets Ready allows community response teams to communicate directly with Council Emergency Operations Centres.
Neighborly promise to never share your data. We promise to share your information when that is necessary. Why? Because we are about communities working together to cope with disaster and your information may need to be shared with your local community response team or the emergency operations centre.
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- You can be alerted very quickly if a boil water notice is issued for your specific water supply.
- You can receive a flood warning if you live near a river.
- You will receive warnings relating to severe weather.
- Emails and text messages can be sent to keep everyone advised about local issues of concern ie burglaries in your street.
- Your neighbourhood will become more connected and a safer, and friendlier place to live.
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Christchurch, Selwyn, North Canterbury and in Te Awamutu.
Whakatane, South Canterbury, Taupo are in the discussion phase and others are also interested.
Gets Ready is currently shared by word of mouth. Gets Ready was given a Director's Award for Innovation by the Director of Civil Defence in an award ceremony in Wellington in 2016.
With the review of Civil Defence that is happening presently, we hope to see traction towards a national roll out of Gets Ready.
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No-one! This isn't a money making venture.
There's no money being made. Indeed it remains a labour of love and we hope sponsors - for example insurers will come on board and support it. We reckon there's money saved when Gets Ready sends out wind, flood, fire, water quality etc warnings.
This issue of costs is an ongoing challenge.
Sponsors are being sought to enable the tools to be rolled out across New Zealand.
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Gets Ready has been developed with the proverbial smell of an oil rag over the last 7 years. We've been unwilling to promote it nationally until we've felt the tools are sorted and working really well.
We've won an award from Civil Defence's Director for Innovation.
We are now in a position with Ver 2 going live presently to speak more publicly about the tools in Gets Ready. Watch this space as more folk will learn about it and be keen to join.
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2.Once you have joined Gets Ready
These FAQ's are particularly for group co-ordinators.
There are three levels of contacts in Gets Ready.
- Street contacts look after a group of households/addresses. There's hopefully more than one person with this role.
- Sub-area contacts look after a few street groups in a town or rural area.
- Community Response Teams (CRT) look after a larger rural area, township or suburb. There might be 10 or more people in a CRT.
Contacts can see, edit, update or delete household information - but only in the groups they have responsibility for. A street contact can only see information for their street or road group. A member of a CRT can see information in their area.
To see the 'lot' you have to be part of your council's Emergency Operations Team or an Administrator in your Gets Ready.
In an emergency all contacts should -
- Look after their family first.
- Never put themselves in danger.
- Contact the residents in their group.
- Check on those most vulnerable first.
- Identify any needs…..ie no heating, no food, injuries etc
- Report back to their local Community Response Team
- Pass updates from their Community Response Team back to their residents.
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Selwyn District Council is the shining light regarding a council who really use and 'own' Gets Ready. Their Civil Defence Controller has this to say about Gets Ready.
Selwyn District Council are fully supportive of this software initiative. It is an excellent product for community groups to support their interaction with a council’s Emergency Operations Centre. It is also a great way of building community resilience. During recent fire events, we were able to promptly alert the communities in our District at risk from the fire and advise them of safety actions to take. During flood and extreme wind events, the software allows our community response teams to capture their community issues and either resolve themselves or forward to us at EOC via the Selwyn Gets Ready web site. The software also allows for community contact information to be captured which means that we can also keep communities informed via agreed protocols about other community issues’
There has been no national awareness campaign. A few other councils are in the process of learning about Gets Ready. We believe the tools are worth using right across New Zealand - and worth supporting with the resources to allow a national roll out.
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Situation reports take two forms.
Co-ordinators, but especially your Community Response Team are expected to update your council (if Gets Ready is operating as it does in Selwyn for example) emergency operations team during an emergency.
That way the council is clear about urgent needs as stated by a team who have received training and are known by the community and the council.
The Situation Report provides structured information to the council, including geo-tagged photos (location provided) of a flood or fire etc event.
The second type of situation report is open to any member of Gets Ready. They can send in information relating to crime and security - and your local Community Response team can share that with the wider community, via an email in Gets Ready or a story in a local facebook page/group.
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Some people are finding that their browser is being a pain... remembering stuff from the old system. That means the browser keeps offering your old username for logging into Gets Ready, rather than as is required now - your email address.
Here's some information for various browsers, to help in the 'clearing of cache' and convincing your browser/computer to accept that things have changed. Hope this helps. Finally, once you are logged in, I'm told there's no need to log out. You can stay in the system so when you go to the site again, it will remember you.
If you use the firefox web browser
If you use chrome
and if you use Edge web browser
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In our first 6 years of running Gets Ready we allowed a couple to register as one person.
So one person was Dave & Virginia Askin- with just one set of needs, skills and resources, and one phone and often one email.
Actually this is coming back to bite us. In an order for names in Gets REady, the '& Virginia Askin' becomes the surname. This is confusing and not helpful. So we are working our way through information, with community led teams to tidy the information and split the two people into two people in Gets Ready.
Here's what we want.
Each address has a primary contact.
In our case that might be me, Dave Askin, with unique email, phone, needs, skills and resources.
Then we have Virginia Askin, again with unique email, phone, needs, skills and resources.
And we might have a long term boarder or (more). They can be added at the same address.
Addresses have to be known by NZ Post. As mentioned elsewhere, for some situations even this restriction might be a bother, as for example, some Dairy farms have 3 or more homes all at just one NZ Post registered address. In that case, one person is primary contact, all others are added with their unique - needs, skills, resources AND their unique emails and mobiles to get text and email emergency alerts.
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3.For Area level / Community Response Teams
There's settings like boundaries that are set by CRT's. Some information is being developed for your teams.
You must be logged in. You must have area level privileges. That means you are a member of a Community Response Team. Then you can create a new sub-area and edit sub-areas.
We've found it works well to keep naming of street groups and sub-areas consistent.
eg at sub area level we might have - Darfield Rural NE and then Darfield Rural SE etc.
Keep names short, where possible.
Names of areas or sub-areas are best kept in a pattern that allows them to sort alphabetically in ways that help people find their way around.
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CRT's are the direct link between the authorities and the communities.
CRT members look after a rural or suburb or township area. They are the key volunteers who seek to assist at community level with-
- checks on every household in an emergency (through their sub-area and street contacts),
- opening local emergency centres,
- co-ordinating information flows between Civil Defence/Council emergency management teams and the local community.
They send situation reports back to Council during fire, wind and flood etc events.
Community Response Teams (CRT's) are groups of volunteers who have the trust of the community. We ask that all CRT members have Police background checks.
Remember when the proverbial really happens communities may become totally isolated. Power and phone communications may be severely disrupted. The internet may go down. They are the local teams who are ready to liaise directly with their sub-area and street contacts who will know what is going on and where priorities lie.
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Gets Ready is basing its household/addresses on NZ Post information. They have pretty well every address sorted. But, there's always challenges in every situation. Here's ours. Dairy farmers are a good example. One address, multiple houses.
Our system does not allow multiple addresses (households) at one address. BUT everyone can be added - with their unique email, cell phone and needs, skills and resources.
So enter one address, and keep adding people to that address.
There's reasons for that limitation - and it does work - for more than 99% of the cases.
Sorry if you are one of the minority who feel the system could do this better. We are always on the look out for ways of handling things better and version 3 may offer changes.
Please note the primary contact at an address gets an asterisk beside their name.
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When sorting by address, 2 Bealey Road might be followed by 3 and 5, but 22 might also be followed by 225 and then 23. This is a little quirk that we intend to fix in Version 3. While we are a tad constrained budget wise, we try to keep changes to a version and that is set for Version 3.
Thanks for your patience.
Meanwhile you can sort by surname which is probably a reasonable sort option.
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What is the role of a co-ordinator?
Look after your family first.
Never put yourself in danger.
Contact the residents in your group.
Check on those most vulnerable first.
Identify any needs…..ie no heating, no food, injuries etc
Report back to your local Community Response Team
Pass updates from your Community Response Team back to your residents.
How safe is my information?
It is protected by username & passwords. It is available only to your neighbourhood support group members, your local Community Response Team and where appropriate your District Council Emergency Management staff.
Details are encrypted by https secure transports.
Remember – only offer the information your are happy to share.
What are the advantages of being registered in a Gets Ready system?
Your can be alerted very quickly
- if a boil water notice is issued for your water supply,
- if a fire is out of control and you need to know about it, because your location is known in the system…
- if a river near you is flooding and you need to know about it/evacuate.
- if a Tsunami alert is posted by Civil Defence – texts can be sent out.
Emails and text messages can be sent to keep everyone advised about local issues of concern ie burglaries in your street
Your neighbourhood will become more connected and a safer, and friendlier place to live.