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More than 800,000 Kiwis all set to ShakeOut tomorrow


At 9.30am tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join together in the national ShakeOut drill to practice how to stay safe in an earthquake or tsunami.

New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is happening at 9.30am on Thursday 18 October to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake, Drop, Cover, Hold and to practise their tsunami hīkoi (evacuation) if they are in a coastal area.

“All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes and all of our coastline is at risk of tsunami. We can’t predict when one will happen, or where we will be, but we can protect ourselves and our families by practising what to do,” says Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black.

ShakeOut is an international exercise that originated in California and was held nationwide in New Zealand in 2012 and 2015. This year the focus has changed to an annual event, which will give people a regular reminder of what to do, especially schools, and promotes a tsunami hīkoi component for people in coastal areas.

Over 810,000 New Zealanders have signed up so far, and there is still time to do so – registering takes two minutes at www.shakeout.govt.nz.

As part of this year’s exercise, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and EQC invited schools to take part in the New Zealand ShakeOut Schools Challenge. The Challenge encourages students to work on a series of steps with their families, to make sure more New Zealanders are prepared for emergencies.

Mrs Stuart-Black says recent events have reinforced the importance of knowing what to do in an earthquake or when there is a tsunami threat.

“Since 2016, we’ve experienced one massive earthquake and two local source tsunami, and we’ve also learned even more about seismic risks such as the Alpine Fault, the Hikurangi Fault, and the Kermadec Trench.

“The ShakeOut drill will help make the Drop, Cover Hold actions second nature, while giving us a chance to practise our tsunami evacuation routes.”

While ShakeOut will be held during the school and work day, Mrs Stuart Black is encouraging people to try the drill with their family at a time that suits them.

To find out more about tsunami safety and local evacuation maps, check out the Civil Defence website.

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