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How prepared are Aucklanders?

10 August 2011

How prepared are Aucklanders?

With the recent natural hazards that have affected the nation, just how prepared are we?

New research out today has found that Auckland, or more precisely Aucklanders, are the least prepared in the country for a natural disaster.

The results, from a Colmar Brunton survey into the effectiveness of the national Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management’s ‘Get Ready, Get Thru’ advertising campaign, showed Auckland was significantly lower than the national average in four of the measures used to detect how ready a region is for an emergency.

Although the percentage of Aucklanders who are fully prepared has increased since the survey began in 2007 (up from 4% in 2007 to 11% in 2011) Aucklanders are still below the national average (18% in 2011).

The report found that 21% of Aucklanders are prepared when they are at home, compared with the national average of 32%.

Only 23% of Aucklanders have a survival plan for when they are away from home compared with the national average of 30%.

Although most people understand a disaster could strike at any time, the main barriers to being prepared remain similar to previous years, although cost has become a greater barrier (up from 11% in 2010 to 16% in 2011).

Clive Manley, Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Manager said that Aucklanders need to learn from the recent events and build resilience by being prepared.

“Many people think that we are never going to face an emergency situation in Auckland,” said Mr Manley.

“Yet this year Auckland has been affected by flooding, tornadoes and tsunami threats generated by earthquakes in Chile and Japan and we have seen the devastating effect of the earthquakes in Christchurch.

“The possibility of an emergency, whether that be caused by a volcanic eruption, the weather, or man-made disaster should never be dismissed.

Civil Defence can assist, advise and coordinate, but it is up to the community to accept some responsibility and be prepared. Help may not be available for some days so our individual preparedness could ultimately prove lifesaving.”

Experience has shown that after a disaster it may take three days or more for emergency services to reach neighbourhoods and individuals. In areas that are isolated or have limited access, it may take longer.

“To help our communities get through an emergency we are working with them to develop neighbourhood response plans so that the community knows what to do in an emergency and can look after themselves and each other. We are not always going to be able to alert people, so that is why the best practice is still through communities alerting each other in an emergency,” says Mr Manley.

The plans build community resilience to emergencies and disasters by identifying hazards that may impact the area, and also outline how the community will respond and remain self-reliant for at least three days without external assistance.

Michael Goudie, Chair of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee is looking at fresh, innovative ways to engage and educate the Auckland public.

“The council merger has been a catalyst for looking at our communities in a new light,” says Cr. Goudie.

“Because of how diverse Auckland is, we need to look beyond ‘normal’ connectivity and start looking at best penetration. New ways such as Twitter and location-based smart phone applications have huge potential to play a part in raising the awareness and the need to be prepared in an emergency.”

For information on how to be prepared visit Get Ready Get Thru.


© Scoop Media

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