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Earthquake a reminder to be prepared - Hawk'es Bay

24 July 2013

Earthquake a reminder to be prepared

Hawke’s Bay people should be using the Cook Strait earthquakes as a reminder to check they have done all they can to be prepared for a large earthquake to affect them.

Hawkes’ Bay can expect an earthquake of the strength that impacted Seddon and Wellington every 6 - 15 years. Hawke’s Bay has a number of fault lines running through it, any one of which could rupture and cause damage.

Over the past 20 years, Hawke’s Bay has had five earthquakes over 5 on the Richter scale, such as the Hastings 5.9 earthquake on 25 August 2008 when residents experienced strong shaking measured at around 6 on the Modified Mercalli (MM) scale. EQC paid out over $2 million to insured residential households.

Scientists warn us to expect stronger earthquakes at any time in the future. If a larger earthquake was to occur close to one of our towns or cities, we could see damage to property, buildings and infrastructure similar to what has happened this week.

“Everyone in Hawke’s Bay should be well prepared with stored water and food, first aid kits and a way to cook if power is out for any length of time,” says Ian Macdonald, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Group Manager.

A recent resident survey across the region asked 700 people how prepared they were for emergencies. Civil Defence Emergency Management staff are pleased that the survey has recorded a generally high level of water and food stored. However there is a lower number of emergency plans in place.

“It’s great to know that more Hawke’s Bay people know they can cope well with water and food and it would be good to see more people with their emergency planning in place,” says Ian.

“An emergency plan should be essential as it gives you more control on what happens to you and your family during and after an event. It’s as simple as talking over so everyone knows what to do, where to shelter safely or meet up if you are away from home.”

“Also practice an evacuation from your home. It might seem silly to do, but after a confusing earthquake that practice will be worth it when it saves you time and possibly injuries,” says Ian.

Another part of emergency planning is linking in with social media. This is increasingly important in an emergency and will be used along with radio reports, news releases, fliers and direct contact where appropriate. The Hawke’s Bay Emergency Facebook Page and Twitter feed also include important updates such as planned siren testing and helpful tips on preparing for an emergency. The links are - Twitter: @hbemergency and Facebook: www.facebook.com/hbemergency.

Get ready for an Earthquake

• Quake safe your home and work place. As well securing bookcases, pictures, chimneys, hot water cylinders and cabinets, also secure your modern flat screen TVs - these are particularly dangerous and caused deaths in Christchurch and injuries in Wellington when they fell on top of people.

• Have an emergency plan for yourself and your family. Talk over with your family, including children, and plan what you should do if an earthquake strikes at night or when you are work with children at school. Identify and show your family safe places within your home. Practice the earthquake drill and evacuating your home with your family.

• Get to know your neighbours. After an earthquake your neighbours will become an important part of getting you and your street back to normal.

• Have an emergency kit with at least 3 days water and food, a battery radio, a torch and a first aid kit. Think about what other essential items you may need, e.g. baby food, disposable nappies and medicines.

• Have a ‘getaway bag’ in case you need to leave home or work at short notice. A spare backpack with old sneakers (if roads are damaged, you may have to walk a long way), water, food bars, battery radio, torch and warm clothing could be useful.

For more advice on being prepared go to www.getthru.govt.nz.

ENDS

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