Preparing for an Emergency
You never think it will happen to you, but as you know it could any day. From Earthquake to Flood, from Storm to Tsunami. It doesn't matter that it's not a catastrophic event or that your house may still be standing. The fact is that if any disaster event, natural or otherwise, was to occur in your area, you might have to survive without power, water or worse!
If disaster was to occur are you ready? Emergency services will be overwhelmed by calls from people just like you, they will try to manage their priorities that they have been trained in. You will be OK but you may just need to sit tight for a few days.
All New Zealanders are now asked to be prepared to manage on their own - or as a family group - for the first three days after a disaster. It can simply take that long for help to arrive, so making preparations in advance can ensure self-sufficiency and minimise distress.
In the event of an emergency, Neighbourhood Support will work with Civil Defence and other emergency services to bring relief.
Meanwhile, tune your radio to your local station as Civil Defence will broadcast messages and instructions as soon as possible. If it's a serious disaster it may take some time before this happens.
Just be ready, this is the best form of preparation. Make sure you have a survivor kit that suits you. Browse this site to find a huge range of products and survivor kits that are recommended for you and your family. You can choose to purchase here or call us on
0508 NZSURVIVOR or 0508 69 78 78
Home Preparedness check list
Has your family prepared for an emergency?
Use this checklist to assess how well you and your household are prepared for an emergency.
- Who will collect children from school, daycare etc?
- Could this be a problem if the roads/bridges are damaged or unusable?
- What older children should do if parents are not at home?
- An agreed message point (front of fridge, letterbox or similar)
- A meeting and contact point if family members cannot get home (i.e. relatives or family friends home)
- How to leave the house incase of fire or another threat?
- Knowing where the nearest civil defense centre is?
- What to do about looking after your pets
Do you know where to find these items quickly?
- NZ Survivor Kit
- Getaway Kit
- Torch (with spare batteries and bulb)
- Transistor radio (with spare batteries)
- First aid kit - have family members learnt first aid?
- Essential medication
- Important family documents
Is your home safe?
- Have any alterations been done which might affect its structural safety?
- Are heavy shelves, cabinets etc fastened to the walls?
- Have you secured or removed heavy or sharp cornered objects on shelves above shoulder level?
- Have heavy pictures,mirrors etc been removed from above beds?
- Has your chimney been checked for structural soundness?
- Are gas cylinders securely fastened?
- Is your woodburner properly secured to the floor?
Has the family been taught the correct order to use food after an emergency?
Perishable foods first, refrigerated second, then frozen and finally canned or packeted foods.
Keep fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible if power has failed or is switched off for safety.
Have you taken steps to ensure you will have adequate water if mains are off?
- Have you got suitable containers with stored water?
- Do family members know how to turn off water mains?
- If you have tank supply, are the tanks secured from toppling?
- Are your hot water cylinder and header tank strapped to the house framing? They are a good source of clean water.
- Does the family understand they need to conserve water?
Have you considered fire safety after an emergency?
- Do you have a fire extinguisher?
- Do older family members know how to use it properly?
- Do family members know how to turn off electric power to prevent possible fire?
- Extinguish solid fuel heaters and fires and do not use until they have been checked for safety(flues and chimneys especially)
- Use torches or chemical light sticks in preference to candles or gas lanterns which could pose a fire or gas explosion risk
- Does your family have a fire evacuation plan?
Have you considered how to safely dispose of waste if the sewerage and rubbish collection services are not functioning?
- Use a bucket with a plastic bag insert as a temporary toilet and bury waste deeply in the garden.
- Store other food and rubbish in plastic bags.
Are your petrol containers, weed killers and other chemicals stored safely where they cannot tip over in an earthquake or flood?
In a locked cupboard, on a shelf with a good edge rail on it.
Have you spoken with your neighbours and discussed how you can help each other?
- Do you or they have special needs (disability, frailty,young children?
- Do you or they have tools, equipment or skills that could be useful?
- Have you arranged with someone in your street to keep an eye on your family if you have to report to duty at work during an emergency?
- Are you actively involved with a neighbourhood support group if there is one?
- Do you and your neighbours know that a sheet or towel hung out a window is a sign that help is needed?
Have you checked the adequacy of your insurance cover?
- On your house?
- On your contents?
- Is the value of your fire and other risk policies adequate for disaster cover or would “top up” cover for reinstatement value be wise?
- See your insurance company to check on the adequacy of your insurance for disasters.
Household Emergency checklist – attachment at www.getthrough.govt.nz also in NZ Survivor folder.