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Survey Measures Preparedness for Emergencies in Otago

Over 70 percent of Otago households have begun taking steps to prepare for emergencies, a new survey has found.

The survey was conducted for Emergency Management Otago and shows that most people understand that they need to be able to cope without outside assistance for at least three days after a significant event such as an earthquake, major flooding or storm.

Most also know that even if their own homes aren’t seriously damaged, natural hazards will disrupt their lives by interrupting essential services such as electricity, water, sewerage, phones and roads. However, the results of the survey show that knowing about hazards and their impacts doesn’t necessarily spur people to take action.

Levels of preparedness vary across the region, with differences also showing up between age groups and those in rural and urban communities.

Over 40 percent of respondents said they planned to take further steps to improve their preparedness at home. That included those who had already taken some actions, as well as those who said they hadn’t done anything.

Asked what would motivate them to be better prepared, 28 percent said an earthquake or other emergency would jolt them into action; 14 percent said warnings of extreme bad weather would act as a prompt and 10 percent said they would need more information on what to do. Only eight percent said nothing would make them take any steps to be ready for an emergency.

The Chair of Emergency Management Otago’s governing Joint Committee, Stephen Woodhead, said that the survey identified for the first time what local people understand about threats from natural hazards, and how prepared they are to deal with the knock-on effects.

“This is a detailed snapshot which gives good insights into what people perceive as the risks facing their families and communities. It will help Emergency Management Otago’s staff target their efforts to improve preparedness and resilience across the region and gives a reliable benchmark to assess progress.”

1700 people took part in the survey, most of them randomly selected from the electoral roll with a small number recruited via social media to ensure there were sufficient participants from each district. The survey was conducted by Versus Research and has a margin of error of +/- 2.4%.

The results are online


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