Innovation for emergency services: a first for the Pacific region

ambassador-jacobs-at-the-launch-of-the-new-fire-truck-in-niue-in-november-2015A ground-breaking way to address how Pacific Island countries prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters was launched by the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, His Excellency, Andrew Jacobs, and the Premier of Niue, the Hon Toke Talagi in November.

Niue is the first Pacific Island country to commit to the Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management which will ensure its emergency services work together to build a solid foundation for a prosperous future for the people of Niue.

The Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA) worked closely with Niue’s Government to create this roadmap as part of the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project. This €19.6 million project is implemented by the Pacific Community and supported by the European Union.



To support the coordination of emergency services within Niue this roadmap was launched with a new firetruck and a ground-breaking at the site for its new Emergency Operations Centre which will begin construction in 2016.

Ambassador Jacobs said he was honoured to launch the Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management and to formally handover a new firetruck, funded through the BSRP project.

“Niue’s government is showing strong leadership and forward thinking. The European Union is committed to support Niue’s and our Pacific partners and friends’ innovative efforts to build their resilience,” Ambassador Jacobs said.

This roadmap and coordination strategy is being developed across 14 more Pacific Island countries that are part of the BSRP project to ensure innovative and efficient solutions to disaster preparedness and response are brought together to build and support the rich culture and people of the Pacific region.

“In a first for the Pacific, Niue’s Joint Emergency Operations Centre will house the Police Station, National Disaster Management Office and Niue Fire Rescue Service,” the Premier of Niue and Minister For Central Agencies and Premier, the Hon Toke Talagi, said.

“This is highly beneficial to the entire country as our emergency services are coordinated and we are better equipped to share resources, prepare communities and respond to disasters when they inevitably strike,” Premier Talagi said.

At present, only two Airport Crash Firetrucks exist in Alofi so this support will help protect the people of Niue into the future when they’re affected by disaster, the Premier said.

The new centre will include Niue’s Rescue Coordination Centre, a staging area for emergency vehicles and equipment, as well as relief and rehabilitation supplies, and a backup Activation Centre for the Niue Tsunami Early Warning System.

Speaking at the event, the Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, Professor Mike Petterson, congratulated the Government of Nuie on setting the benchmark for other Pacific countries and territories.

“We celebrate our strengths and resilience in responding to the unique challenges we face in our region and the launch of the first Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management is a true testament to the Niue Government, its National Disaster Management Office, the European Union and the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project to create innovative and collaborative relationships that strengthen the resilience of Niue,” Prof Petterson said.

Participating in the ground-breaking were Premier Talagi, Ambassador Jacobs, New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, Ross Ardern, the Assistant Secretary, Pacific Regional Branch, of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alice Cawte and Prof Petterson of SPC.