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Wake Up New Zealand!

Wellington, NZ - Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Wake Up New Zealand!

There are two types of New Zealanders: those who believe in being prepared, and those who laugh at people who prepare.

Guess who’s going to have the last laugh?

The head of New Zealand disaster readiness company Community Emergency Supplies Ltd says recent events should be a wake-up call for Kiwis.

CESL Managing Director Greg Blanchard says it is important for every household to be prepared for a disaster: one that could come in any form.

"Two very disparate events have had a high profile in the media lately," says Blanchard, "A massive landslide on Leyte Island in the Philippines devoured an entire township. And in this country a drought has resulted in a critical water shortage in Westport and Buller."

Mr Blanchard says disasters don’t happen only to small tropical villages or remote southern townships – they can happen anywhere, any time, and to anyone.

New Zealanders have been told again and again to prepare for disaster. However the concept of ‘disaster’ for many people is just too much to imagine. Studies have shown that people exposed to images of disasters often convince themselves that it can’t happen where they live.

“This is the ‘She’ll be right Jack’ mentality, and it is the biggest challenge facing any commercial, government, or charitable organisation trying to get the preparedness message through.”

The recommended Civil Defence requirements are printed on the inside back cover of the telephone Yellow Pages.

“The information is all there, but it is very daunting putting together a kit yourself – it takes not only money but lots of time. There are easier options, purchasing a survival kit commercially is obviously one way to do it.”

However Greg Blanchard says his company is committed to improving the resilience of New Zealand communities. He says this comes from the advice of their own Disaster Readiness Advisor. "He himself is a Civil Defence Team Leader, has emergency management qualifications, and is a former paramedic."

“He has pointed out to me that a country well-prepared is good for all businesses: the faster New Zealand can recover from a disaster the better the economic outlook for all businesses. It makes a lot of sense when you think it through. That’s why so many companies are purchasing individual kits for their staff.”

Community Emergency Supplies is calling for all New Zealanders to wake up to the personal responsibility of preparedness and not rely on central or local government to save them.

“Civil Defence preparation is every New Zealander’s responsibility. Those who prepare now will not be laughing when the big one hits… but they won’t be laughed at anymore either.”


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