The objective of readiness is to build capacity and capability, and to enable an effective response to, and recovery from, emergencies.

In order to be ready for, and to reduce the effects of an emergency, agencies need to incorporate risk management into their normal activities. They also need to plan, train, and exercise for emergencies, and incorporate lessons identified into their planning and processes.

Readiness involves developing operational systems and capabilities before an emergency happens, including making arrangements with emergency services, lifeline utilities, and other agencies, and developing self-help and response programmes for the general public.

Organisational readiness: tends to focus on the readiness of emergency response organisations, emergency services, local authorities, health and disability service providers, non-government organisations.

Community readiness: focuses on the ability of communities, businesses, families, and individuals to be able to meet their own needs during and after emergencies. The public education and community engagement activities of local, regional, and national agencies play a key part in developing community readiness.

The principles underlying readiness are to:

  1. Understand that New Zealand has finite capacity and capability for deployment in response to, or recovery from, emergencies
  2. Establish and maintain ongoing processes to identify significant gaps and shortfalls in capacity and capability
  3. Build and maintain capacity and capability for response and recovery