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Conduct Your Own Disaster Preparedness Exercise

Wednesday 17 May, 2006

Exercise Suburban Wave

Conduct Your Own Disaster Preparedness Exercise this Saturday

New Zealanders don't have to wait for the media, local councils, or Government Ministries to be prepared. Whilst senior Civil Defence and Emergency Management officials from 28 countries around the Pacific region are conducting tsunami drills, people across the country are being encouraged to check their own preparedness.

Greg Blanchard, Managing Director of Community Emergency Supplies Ltd, is calling for all New Zealanders to undertake a preparedness drill this weekend. And he says the results will be an eye-opener to anyone who participates.

"I am suggesting an informal, nationwide exercise where the public conduct a preparedness drill in their own home. It will only take a few minutes, and it could save your life one day."

At Midday this Saturday the whole country should check how prepared they are, through following the procedures set out in Exercise Suburban Wave.

"Let's assume that at Noon this coming Saturday there is some major disaster. We want all New Zealanders to quickly take stock of their situation - wherever they may be - and note down what resources they have available."

"In addition, each of us should think about where our loved-ones are, our dependents, and those in the community who we know cannot readily care for themselves in time of disaster."

Mr Blanchard says Exercise Suburban Wave is important because the next major earthquake, flood, or tsunami that strikes will not necessarily happen when everyone is at home.

"The odds are that it could strike just after you drop the kids off at school, or as you are driving down the road to check the cattle in the back run," says Blanchard, "Or you could be down at the RSA or at the cinema."

"The point is, being prepared is not just about being prepared at home: it is about being as well-prepared as possible wherever you are, or being prepared to leave your home."

"A big part of preparedness is having a plan, and sharing that plan with the people you are responsible for or who are important to you. What has been found in the past, time and time again, is that when a disaster strikes many people have no clue what to do. New Zealanders can avoid this by planning ahead."

Mr Blanchard's company will be reviewing public acceptance of the personal preparedness drill, and if it gets a positive response will talk to Civil Defence about how to promote the concept further.

Further information on becoming prepared is on the Community Emergency Supplies website:[2], or the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management website:[3].

(see below for details of Exercise Suburban Wave)



1) At Noon on Saturday the 20th of May the exercise will begin.

2) Turn your radio on and tune it to the clearest radio station

3) On a piece of paper note down exactly where you are (if you are in a car pull over first)

4) Note down exactly where your dependents are (e.g. young children, elderly or disabled family members)

5) Take stock of what water and food for yourself you can lay your hands on immediately

6) If you or your dependents require prescription medication then note how much you have available

7) Note down where the nearest fire extinguisher and first aid kit is

8) Find a torch and turn it on... does it work?

9) Where is your passport, birth certificate, and drivers licence?

10) How much money is available to you in hard cash?

11) If you have pets, where is their cage/harness/leash or other method of transporting them safely? Where is their food?

12) You're done! On your piece of paper record the time.

This exercise will give a rough indication of how prepared you are. If the finish time is 12:10 or less well done! If less than 12:15 then more work is needed. If greater than 12:15 then consider becoming more prepared.

Some additional notes:

a) Don't let this exercise cause you any worry or angst. The point is to test how prepared you are. If you didn't do so well then now you can do something about it!

b) This exercise tests your level of preparedness and is a great teaching tool for adults as well as children.

c) Community Emergency Supplies is very interested in how you went. You can email us with your results at[4]. If you want to send us the piece of paper with the entire results on it then our address is:

PO Box 24 520,

Wellington 6034


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