What a week that’s been.
The weekend was busy with two first aid jobs, firstly quad biking on the Rimutaka Incline for the Incline half marathon run/walk. That was quite wet all day but nothing particularly unusual. Sunday saw the team head down to Brookfield Scout Camp to fill the mud pit and cover the course for first aid. Didn’t actually rain, but playing with the pumps to make a mud pit meant for a messy day.
So after being comfortably asleep for a couple of hours on Sunday night we got a significantly abrupt awakening with the 7.8 quake that rumbled through. Quite an impressive shake and definitely the biggest one I’ve ever felt. Between the near constant aftershocks and messages and notifications coming through, very little sleep happened for the rest of the night.
A quick interior check of the house and garage revealed only one door that swung open and one drawer having slid open. Everything else seemed to be where I’d left it, including the race car up on axle stands. Quite glad about that since two of the wheels were off, though with them having been slid under it, it would likely have been sitting on them anyway.
With the office being closed for inspection/repairs I ended up deployed with the rescue team to do a daylight recon around Upper Hutt. Seemed to be minimal damage around Upper Hutt. A few downed wires, some water issues but everything seemed to be still standing.
Training as usual, but after a few more decent aftershocks, we cut it short so everyone could be home with families etc. And the rain had set in quite solidly.
Tuesday dawned clear and still….oh, wait, no. Still very wet and still a steady stream of aftershocks, though most by now were in the 4 range at most. Having logged in to work remotely, I was typing a joking email that I though I might get deployed for storm response soon and what do you know, phone call at that moment. First order of the day was to go pick up the Ops Manager from Porirua with several roads cut off due to flooding and slips. Taking one of the rescue 4×4’s we managed to crawl and wade our way over to Porirua, picked him up then returned via much the same route. Took about 3 hours all up. Slightly longer than the usual trip length from Upper Hutt to Porirua and back. And between coming out and returning, the water levels had all gone up even more. Normal 5 wire fences had water lapping at the tops of the posts beside the road in places. Small creeks had turned into raging torrents.
The team spent the afternoon providing assistance to several properties around the Upper Hutt area, mostly pumping out sections that had significantly flooded.
Quakes had been long forgotten by that stage.
After a dinner break we got one last tasking for the night which was to provide people to help maintain a secure cordon around 61 Molesworth St which had significant damage and was deemed to be at considerable risk of falling in the next decent aftershock.
Over the course of the night we maintained several cordon points to ensure no one got too close to the at risk building. A good combination of business and good humour within the team kept us going through the night. As dawn arrived and people started making their way into town to their various jobs we had a few people to redirect around the no go zone, but everyone seemed fairly happy to follow our instructions. Our relief eventually took over at 10am and we found our way round to the Emergency Operations Centre for some much needed brunch. We finally left the site 12 hours after arriving. Job well done.
All up, we had around 27 hours of solid deployment. Plus the deployment on Monday.
Bed was a welcome sight by the time we all fell into them at various times on Wednesday, all wondering what the next thing was going to be. Locusts? Rain of frogs? Oh, there we go, a mini tornado in Kapiti. Thankfully not major and we didn’t have to attend it.
As it stands currently, I’m still working from home as my work building sustained some minor damage that needs cleaning up and fixing. The building next door to mine had a partial floor collapse, so everyone is glad that happened at night rather than during a work day. Quite interesting though. Both mine and the next door buildings are close to the same age, built within the last 10 years or so. Yet the brick buildings around the Port that have been declared unsafe seem to have stood up quite nicely.
So that’s a little bit of an insight into what my other hobby can involve.
If you’re interested in following the team, check us out on facebook.