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Exercise Suburban Wave - Update Friday 19 May 06

Exercise Suburban Wave - Update Friday 19 May, 2006

Disaster Preparedness Exercise is GO for this Saturday

Exercise Suburban Wave – a community initiative instigated by a survival supply company – is ready to happen this Saturday at Noon. Spurred by a passionate belief that the country’s preparedness is the responsibility of all individuals, Exercise Suburban Wave will give every New Zealander the opportunity to roughly gauge how prepared they are. Jarrod Coburn, Disaster Readiness Advisor for the company organising the event, has spoken publicly to counter concerns that this is an exercise in sales and marketing.

“As an active Civil Defence Team Leader, as a volunteering researcher, and as a citizen of this country, I feel a burden of responsibility to spread the word on how to be properly prepared.”

“I am fortunate to be able to communicate this vision through a company I work for. Because lets face it: preparedness is a community-owned issue that starts with individuals. We saw it in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina – thousands of people who had ample warning of a disaster but who chose to sit idly by and do nothing. It’s all very well blaming the government, but each of us needs to share responsibility for our own wellbeing.” Community Emergency Supplies has gone to lengths to distance itself from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

“Obviously they have been informed that we are organising this,” says Mr Coburn, “Although it is not sanctioned by them. But why should it? Being prepared is not an issue solely owned by the government – that is one of the big paradigm shifts that New Zealanders need to undertake.”

“Our company has chosen to organise this. The people who will benefit are ordinary New Zealanders, who will have something to talk about at work on Monday.” “Once you start to talk about being prepared, and run through a quick emergency plan of your own, I think you have become 200% better off.” At Midday this Saturday the whole country should check how prepared they are, through following the procedures set out in Exercise Suburban Wave. Managing Director of Community Emergency Supplies, Greg Blanchard, says the exercise is important because a disaster will not necessarily strike when everyone is at home.

“It’s like a box of chocolates,” says Blanchard, “But it’s a bloody big box of chocolates and they’re all pretty rotten.”

“And like Forrest Gump says, you never know what you’re gonna get. Running some situations through your mind is a great way to prepare for the unknown; once we are prepared then we can get on with our life with confidence.”

Mr Blanchard’s company will be reviewing public acceptance of the personal preparedness drill, and may talk to Civil Defence or other agencies further if it receives wide public acceptance. Further information on becoming prepared or on Exercise Suburban Wave is on the Community Emergency Supplies website: (information on Exercise Suburban Wave is below)

“Exercise Suburban Wave – Personal Preparedness Drill” 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 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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