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Get ready for any emergency

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:00 a.m.

Are you ready for anything? Next week is national Civil Defence Get Ready Week – a time to check how ready you, your family or your business is to manage in an emergency.

The theme of this year’s Get Ready Week, 21-27 September, is ‘What would you do?’. It’s a reminder that disaster can strike any time, when people are at home, at work or travelling and may need to survive on their own for up to three days.

Bay of Plenty Regional Manager of Civil Defence Emergency Management Clinton Naude said because of its location and environment, New Zealand faced many potential disasters.

“With some, such as storms or volcanic eruption, there may be time for a warning, but others such as earthquakes, or tsunami close to land may happen without any warning. Everyone needs to be prepared to handle an emergency at any time,” he said.

“This is the time to check your family’s emergency plan and make sure everyone knows what to do. Check what’s in your emergency kit, replace water or food that may be dated, make sure your business’s emergency plans are up to date. The aim is to get people thinking about what they would do in an emergency if it happened while they were going about their daily lives, at home, at work or out and about.”

During this week, there will be displays at local council offices and participating agencies and a number of alerting, warning and communication tools will be tested.

The Bay of Plenty’s text and email alerting systems will be tested on Sunday, 28 September at 10am with a mass text and email sent to those who have already signed up for the alerts. Anyone can sign up for free on Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management’s webpage,

“We hope that everyone will take a moment during next week to think about what they would do in any type of emergency, and check that they have everything they need to keep safe for a few days,” Mr Naude said.

Emergency Survival

Put together your emergency survival kit:

  • torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
  • radio with spare batteries
  • wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
  • first aid kit and essential medicines
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • pet supplies
  • toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
  • face and dust masks

Check all batteries every three months. Battery powered lighting is the safest and easiest, because candles can tip over during earthquake aftershocks or in a gust of wind. Avoid kerosene lamps, which require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.

Food and water for at least three days

  • non-perishable food (canned or dried food)
  • food, formula and drinks for babies and small children
  • water for drinking (at least three litres per person, per day)
  • water for washing and cooking
  • a primus or gas barbeque to cook on
  • a can opener

Check and replace food and water every twelve months. Consider stocking a two-week supply of food and water for prolonged emergencies such as a pandemic.

Getaway Kits

In some emergencies you may need to evacuate in a hurry. Everyone should have a packed getaway kit in an easily accessible place at home and at work which includes:

  • torch and radio with spare batteries
  • any special needs such as hearing aids and spare batteries, glasses or mobility aids
  • emergency water and easy-to-carry food rations such as energy bars and dried foods in case there are delays in reaching a welfare centre or a place where you might find support. If you have any special dietary requirements, ensure you have extra supplies
  • first aid kit and essential medicines
  • essential items for infants or young children such as formula and food, nappies and a favourite toy
  • change of clothes (wind/waterproof clothing and strong outdoor shoes)
  • toiletries – towel, soap, toothbrush, sanitary items, toilet paper
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • face and dust masks
  • pet supplies

Include important documents in your getaway kit: identification (copies of birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licences and passports), financial documents (insurance policies and mortgage information), and precious family photos.

First Aid

If someone you care for is injured in a disaster, your knowledge of first aid will be invaluable. Many organisations provide first aid training courses - consider taking a course, followed by regular refresher sessions.

You can buy ready-made first aid kits or make up your own. 

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