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WTR

When an Earthquake Strikes

27 November 2016

When an Earthquake Strikes

On November 14 at 12am a 7.8 earthquake shook 15km north-east of Culverden.

The aftermath of the quake highlights just how important it is to be prepared for an emergency.
We have again been reminded to think about our own emergency response plan… what would happen if it was you?

To reiterate the advice from the Get Ready, Get Thru team:
 

WHAT TO DO DURING AN EARTHQUAKE

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors till the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in New Zealand you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in an elevator, drop, cover and hold. When the shaking stops, try and get out at the nearest floor if you can safely do so.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, drop, cover and hold then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides.

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WHAT TO DO AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE

  • Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
  • Expect to feel aftershocks.
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary. Help others if you can.
  • Be aware that electricity supply could be cut, and fire alarms and sprinkler systems can go off in buildings during an earthquake even if there is no fire. Check for, and extinguish, small fires.
  • If you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place. Use the stairs, not the elevators.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas.
  • Only use the phone for short essential calls to keep the lines clear for emergency calls.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out quickly and turn off the gas if you can. If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep your animals under your direct control as they can become disorientated. Take measures to protect your animals from hazards, and to protect other people from your animals.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.

WHAT TO HAVE IN YOUR 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. Do not use candles as they can tip over in earthquake aftershocks or in a gust of wind. Do not use 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 3 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.

WHAT TO HAVE IN YOUR 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 (birth and marriage certificates, driver's licences and passports), financial documents (e.g. insurance policies and mortgage information), and precious family photos.

Task yourself this weekend to fill out your Household Emergency Plan and get your survival Kit together. Download the Get Ready, Get Thru form here.