Why do I need to be prepared?
Emergencies occur everyday in our urban and rural areas. These emergencies generally involve risk to few people at any one time and are dealt with by police, fire service or ambulance and medical services in our communities. There is always a possibility though that something of a much more severe nature could occur. In these situations the day–to-day staffing and equipment levels of our emergency services and other agencies will be insufficient to deal with the scale of events as quickly as they normally do.
While emergency services have plans to manage the consequences of major emergencies, overseas experience shows that most people will have to look after themselves and those they are with for at least a week, perhaps more. Only the most seriously effected are likely to be assisted by normal response agencies during this period.
The better prepared you are, the safer and more comfortable you and those you care for will be. No one else can remove that responsibility from you.
What do you consider an Emergency?
Depending on where you are and what you do, an emergency could be as natural as a volcanic eruption, tsunami, storm, or earthquake. Less naturally, it could be a car crash in an isolated area, or a fire a long way from your neighbours, or a whole lot of other events that could leave you on your own for a number of days.
Know what to do when a tsunami threatens
- Turn on your radio and follow all instructions.
- Take your Getaway Kit with you if you are told to evacuate.
- Leave the area immediately if you are on the beach or near a river when a strong earthquake occurs.
- Go at least one kilometre inland or 35 metres above sea level.
- Don’t go to a river or beach to watch the waves come in.
- Identify safe places very close to you at home, school or workplace, such as under a sturdy table, or next to an interior wall. The safe place should be within a few steps or two metres to avoid injury from flying debris.
- Develop a Household Emergency Plan and have emergency survival items so that you can cope on your own for at least 3 days.
- Have Emergency Survival and Getaway Kits.
- Quake Safe your Home:
- Secure hot water cylinders and header tanks
- Check that your house is secured to its foundations
- Secure your chimney with galvanised metal bands
- Secure tall furniture to the wall studs
- Secure wood burners to the floor
- Store heavy objects low down
- Use non-slip mats under smaller appliances and objects
- Use plastic putty (Blu Tack) to secure ornaments
- Push picture and mirror hooks closed
- Have flexible gas and plumbing fittings installed.
- Check your household insurance for cover and amount.
- Seek professional advice.
- Find out from your council if there have been landslides in your area before and where they might occur again.
- Check for signs that the ground may be moving. These signs include:
- Sticking doors and window frames
- Gaps where frames are not fitting properly
- Decks and verandahs moving or tilting away from the rest of the house
- New cracks or bulges on the ground, road or footpath
- Leaning trees, retaining walls or fences
- Water springs, seeps or waterlogged ground in areas that are not usually wet.
Be Familiar with the Warning signs of Increased Hydrothermal Activity
- Grass dying back.
- Water evaporating faster off surfaces such as drives.
- Heat under floorboards.
- Appearance of holes/hot water/steam.
- Subsidence e.g. cracks in driveways, walls, paths, steps.
If you think there is increased hydrothermal activity on your property, contact your local authority.
Rural property owners
Rural Property owners face a higher risk with fire than urban counterparts because fires are not detected as quickly and emergency responses take longer because of greater travel distances. A greater level of fire safety preparedness is required.
Fire Seasons and Fire Permits
Rural Property owners should be aware of the current fire danger and check with local rural fire authority on fire seasons and fire permit requirements.. Contact either the local council, department of conservation or rural fire district committee defense force.
There are three fire seasons you need to be aware of
Open Fire season – This means no fire permit is needed to light a fire in open air.
Restricted Fire season – means a fire permit from the relevant rural fire authority is needed.
Prohibited fire season – means a total fire ban and lighting of fires is not permitted in the open air.
In addition to the standard home owners requirements smoke alarms and escape plans, we recommend you:
Keep the grass green, mown or grazed around your home.
Ensure your property is clearly signposted with your RAPID rural property identification number.
Keep garden hose connected that is long enough to reach around your home.
Ensure the driveway has min clearance of 4 meters wide, 4 meters high and has an adequate turn around for large vehicles.
Ensure easy access to water supplies and make sure they are signposted.
Live in a safety zone by ensuring any dead or flammable plant and trees are removed and replace with low flammable species.
Store firewood and other flammable materials away from the house.
Isolate flammable liquids.
Maintain machinery and equipment in safe and working order.
Dispose of ash safely in a metal container and use approved incinerators.
Install multipurpose dry powder extinguishers in the house and outbuildings