Torrential rain on the morning of 14 May 2015 brought widespread flooding to the Porirua district, overwhelming stormwater systems and causing slips and road closures. To help ensure the safety of the public and protect infrastructure during the storm, a control centre was set up within the Porirua City Council Works Depot Unit, to work with Council’s Emergency Operations Centre and its call centre to coordinate depot staff as they responded to flooding issues.
During the storm, the Works Depot Control Centre needed to keep track of the staff and vehicles responding to emergency calls, be able to dispatch teams to outlying areas before they were cut off by floodwaters and slips, and to provide regular progress reports to the Emergency Operations Centre.
"We were able to distribute people and vehicles around hot spots and see how they were tracking, see where the traffic jams were, and keep the radio waves clear. It’s just a brilliant tool."
Manager, Advanced Maintenance Management, Works Operations, Porirua City Council
Porirua City Council’s Works Depot assembled a small team in the control centre and used EROAD’s GPS tracking system to track council staff and vehicles, which enhanced its ability to despatch teams to deal with flood-related incidents and infrastructure inspections.
With EROAD’s activity screen displayed on a large monitor in the control centre, the team was able to view on a single screen the entire Porirua area and location of council vehicles. Real-time vehicle information from the 31 vehicles the council had in the field during the event was displayed on a digital map on the activity screen.
More than 700 calls were made to the council’s call centre on the day, up from an average 200. As more serious flood-related issues arose, the team was able to identify which council trucks were in closest proximity to the incidents, and despatch the most appropriate to the task.
They also used the EROAD system to track vehicle journeys, and where necessary, direct them via alternate routes to avoid congestion in the CBD and outlying areas.
Chris Herbert, Manager Advanced Maintenance Management, Works Operations, Porirua City Council, said it would have been much more difficult to respond to the emergency without the EROAD system.
“It was invaluable being able to simply glance at the monitor to get information,” Mr Herbert said. “Without EROAD we wouldn’t have been able to see the location of any of our vehicles unless we called them on the radio, which is time consuming and clutters up an already overloaded RT system. Using EROAD’s fleet management, we knew at a glance exactly where they were, identify where there were gaps, and choose the appropriate vehicle for the event.”
It also helped ensure the safety of staff in the field. If the control centre lost contact with one of the council’s teams, it would have been able to pinpoint the exact location of their vehicle, potentially saving valuable time if they had got into distress.
“There’s far more to it than just tracking vehicles,” Mr Herbert said. “It’s part of a complete disaster package that is incredibly valuable.”
Porirua City Council serves a young and diverse city. We have a vibrant, caring community which we support by providing the best service, management and innovation possible. The Council runs the award winning art gallery and museum, Pataka and the popular aquatic and sports centre, Te Rauparaha Arena. Porirua has rolling hills, a stunning harbour and 54km of coastline making it a wonderful playground for all. The city is home to more than 52,000 people.