From 33 degrees to a state of emergency

When you’re in the midst of a 33-degree heatwave, the last thing you expect to be doing the next day is having to find your ultimate wet weather gear.

sandbaggingThese are the weather extremes Dunedin residents faced in early February.

Record high temperatures caused a fire to spark in an area of forest near Dunedin Housing Maintenance Contractor’s (DHMC’s) Head Office on Wednesday 31 January 2018. This hot weather incident was soon followed by a ‘state of emergency’ weather warning being declared by lunchtime Thursday, warning residents of persistent rain flooding roads and encroaching on low-lying areas in and around South Dunedin.

A dedicated army of 19 DHMC employees geared up without hesitation.

A contractor delivered three trucks and one large trailer load of sand to DHMC’s workshop.

From there, a well-oiled machine of DHMC staff bagged sand, loaded trailers, and delivered and laid sandbags to protect Housing New Zealand properties identified to be at greater risk from the imminent wet weather.

sandbaggingAfter three hours of hard and heavy work, in 33-degree heat along with 109.6mm of rainfall, all Housing New Zealand houses were sandbagged.

DHMC Operations Manager Gerry O’Connell says that, while this probably isn’t what most people would consider an ideal team-building exercise, it was a great example of team work at its best.

Gerry says his DHMC team were pleased to know their efforts were really appreciated by tenants living in those at-risk areas.

 

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