Are you prepared? 

Being prepared in case of emergency - this the main message from both the Earthquake Commission (for property) and Civil Defence (for people) to help mitigate the effects of a disaster.

It’s worth spending time in the classroom looking at how students and their families can prepare for an emergency. Included here is information about preparations they can make and what to do during and after a disaster.

The lists are based on information from Civil Defence (see their website for more information). Teachers can use this material to inform their classroom teaching.

The information here is organised into four sections:

  1. Being prepared
  2. What to do during a natural disaster
  3. What to do after a natural disaster

1. Being prepared

If you have to get out, you should do so as soon as possible. You and your family probably won’t have time to go around the house trying to find all the things you might need. You might have to get out in the middle of the night and the power is off - can you find your way around in the dark?
So it’s a great idea to have things already organised - just in case…

You and your family need to have a B-Ready Kit that includes:

  • enough food and water for everyone in your house for three days. This food has to last so tinned or dried food is best - and don’t forget a tin opener!
  • something portable to cook on like a small BBQ
  • important medicines - like your inhaler if you’re an asthmatic
  • a first aid kit
  • a radio and batteries
  • waterproof torches and batteries
  • spare warm, waterproof clothing and shoes
  • something to sleep in like sleeping bags or blankets
  • toilet paper and plastic rubbish bags (for your emergency toilet!)
  • hearing aids, glasses, or other essential personal items that family members use.
  • If you have pets you need:

  • to put a collar with a disc on them - the disc should record your name, phone number and, if it fits, your address
  • tinned pet food
  • to have a carry box and pet blanket handy. Put your name and address on the box.
  • Many of these things can be put away in the B-Ready Kit - but make sure that things like the bottled water, food, and batteries are still useable. Replace the food and water every twelve months and the batteries every three months.

    Sometimes, however, items like clothing, medicines, torches, and so on, cannot be kept separate and unused in case of emergency. This is not a problem - just make sure that when items are used they are replaced and put away in the same place so that family members know where to get them in a hurry.

    REMEMBER that a disaster can happen at any time - during the day or night. Families need to organise an Emergency Plan for their homes as well as having one at their workplaces.

    Your Emergency Plan should include:

  • Where to shelter safely within your home if there’s an earthquake, storm, or flood - you’ll have to practise how to get there. This might sound strange but pretend it’s the middle of the night, the lights aren’t working, and something scary has just happened.
  • The name of the person in charge of getting the B-Ready Kit.
  • The name of the person in charge of looking after the pet/s and the plan for what to do with them.
  • Where the local Civil Defence evacuation place is - usually it’s a school. Practise the route you’ll take.
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    2.  What to do during a natural disaster

  • If you are inside - stay there.
  • Find somewhere safe and strong to get under, for example, a strong table or desk. Remember to hold onto the legs - it’ll be moving too.
  • If you are outside keep away from buildings and other things that can fall on you, such as trees, power poles, traffic lights and signs, and bridges. Crouch on the ground and cover your head.
  • If you are in a car or bus - stay in it.
  • What to do if a tsunami threatens

    Sometimes an earthquake will trigger a tsunami so if you feel an earthquake or you hear a tsunami-warning siren:

  • And you are near a beach or a river that is close to a beach, move as far inland as you can: the higher up the better.
  • Don’t go down to the beach to watch a tsunami. If you’re on the beach and you can see a tsunami coming it’s too late to run!
  • Listen to the radio for Civil Defence advice and instructions.
  • What to do during a volcanic eruption

    As most people live some distance from volcanoes, the most likely danger is from falling ash, so:

  • Stay indoors.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Listen to the radio for Civil Defence advice and instructions.
  • Keep the pets inside.
  • If you are outside put a piece of clothing or cloth across your mouth and breathe through that. If you have goggles (even swimming ones) put those on.
  • If the volcano is erupting lava and other debris:

  • Listen to the radio for Civil Defence advice and instructions - if you are in the path of these dangers, you’ll be evacuated.
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    3. What to do after a natural disaster

    What to do after an earthquake

  • Wait a moment, take a deep breath, and quietly check that it is safe for you to move.
  • Stay with someone older who knows what to do.
  • Listen to the radio for Civil Defence advice and instructions.
  • You and your family need to have your B-Ready Kit handy just in case you need to evacuate.
  • If you can stay inside, remain near your safe place as there will probably be aftershocks and you may need to quickly get back under the table for protection.
  • What to do after a tsunami strikes

  • Stay in your evacuation area (which should be as far away and as high up as possible above the beach and/or river) until otherwise instructed by Civil Defence.
  • There is usually more than one tsunami wave. They are far apart and the second one usually takes a while to hit land BUT IT IS BIGGER than the first wave. Don’t go sightseeing!
  • What to do after a volcanic eruption

  • Stay indoors. Don’t go sightseeing.
  • Stay with someone older who knows what to do.
  • Listen to the radio for Civil Defence advice and instructions.
  • You and your family need to have your B-Ready Kit handy just in case you need to evacuate.
  • If your family has been evacuated, you can only return home when Civil Defence has said it is safe to do so.
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