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Red Cross Prepares for Severe Weather Conditions

18 June 2013

Red Cross Prepares for Severe Weather Conditions

A Red Cross Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is being set up in Christchurch to respond to the snow forecast for the South Island.

An Incident Management Team will be in place at the EOC from 10.00am tomorrow morning and Emergency Response Teams around the country are on standby.

South Island Emergency Management Officer Stephen Manson says that final preparations are underway to ensure the EOC is in a position to respond to emergency community needs as they arise.

“Service delivery contingencies are being developed to ensure that weather conditions do not prevent the delivery of Meals on Wheels. Four wheel drive transport is being put in place to assist St John and the Canterbury District Health Board,” he says.

“We have logistics support staff and extra equipment coming down from Wellington tonight. Teams and volunteer rosters have been developed and extra volunteers have been brought in to speed up the distribution of Winter Warmer Packs”.

The Emergency Operation Centre will also be responsible for managing the response to events or demands in other parts of the South Island if needed.

New Zealand Red Cross encourages people to follow the list put out by Civil Defence of what can be done to minimise risk to people and their families. @NZRedCross facebook.com/newzealandredcross

Civil Defence list

* Avoid leaving home unless absolutely necessary when a snow warning is out.

* If you must travel ensure you have snow chains, sleeping bags, warm clothing and essential emergency items.

* At home, check fuel supplies for woodburners, gas heaters, barbeques and generators.

* Bring pets inside. Move domestic animals and stock to shelter.

* If you are caught in your car or truck in a snowstorm, stay in the vehicle. Run the engine every 10 minutes to keep warm. Drink fluids to avoid dehydration. Open the window a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

* Make yourself visible to rescuers by tying a bright-coloured cloth to your radio aerial or door and keeping the inside light on.

* It would be wise to have an emergency plan before the storm hit, Civil Defence said.

* Develop a Household Emergency Plan. Assemble and maintain an Emergency Survival Items for your home as well as a portable getaway kit.

* Prepare your property for high winds by securing large heavy objects, or removing items which can become deadly or damaging missiles. Get your roof checked regularly to make sure it is secure. List items that may need to be secured or moved indoors when strong winds are forecast.

* Keep materials at hand for repairing windows - tarpaulins, boards and duct tape.

* If you are renovating or building, make sure all work complies with the New Zealand building code which has specific standards to minimise storm damage.

* If farming, know which paddocks are safe to move livestock away from floodwaters, landslides and power lines.

* When a storm struck, people should listen for updates on local radio stations where authorities would be broadcasting advice. * Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry.

* Secure, or move indoors, all items that could get blown about and cause harm in strong winds.

* Close windows, external and internal doors. Pull curtains and drapes over unprotected glass areas to prevent injury from shattered or flying glass.

* If the wind becomes destructive, stay away from doors and windows and shelter further inside the house. @NZRedCross facebook.com/newzealandredcross

* Water supplies can be affected so store drinking water in containers and fill bathtubs and sinks with water.

* Don't walk around outside and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.

* Power cuts are possible in severe weather. Unplug small appliances which may be affected by electrical power surges.

* If power is lost unplug major appliances to reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.

* Bring pets inside. Move stock to shelter. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.


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