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Mobile app identifies earthquake-prone buildings

Thousands of New Zealanders are working in, visiting, or walking past buildings every day that they don’t know are severely earthquake-prone, says an expert in earthquake preparedness.

So he’s developed a free mobile app based on official Government information to help make people aware of those buildings.

The EQ Prone app was launched today and is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

It sends notifications to users when they are in or near an earthquake-prone building, tells them what its earthquake rating is, and displays the official Earthquake Prone Building (EPB) warning notice – all using official information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), as notified by local councils.

In the event of an earthquake, the EQ Prone app can also use its building status capability to tell users the safety of the built-up environment around them and what buildings to avoid once they’re out in the street.

The app automatically updates building status and adds new buildings directly from MBIE’s register of earthquake-prone buildings.

Its features include:

• alerts for all buildings on the national earthquake-prone register, regularly updated

• alerts when you are near an earthquake-prone building

• a view of each building’s earthquake rating

• the ability to search for buildings by address, street, town, city

• the building warning notice that should be displayed

• an enhanced self-discovery process that puts the management of life safety and risk back in the hands of building occupiers

• a deeper insight into the inner failings of buildings infrastructure

• alerts and building status that evaluates evacuation procedures or route

The EQ Prone app has been developed by Survive-it, New Zealand’s leading ‘prepare now + survive later’ company, which provides civil defence and emergency preparedness equipment throughout the country, including to a range of government departments, banks, and universities.

Managing Director Steven McLauchlan says the app is about making people aware of their surroundings so they can make informed decisions about their immediate environment.

“Unfortunately, right now there are thousands of buildings around New Zealand that are earthquake-prone, but people don’t know they are because many don’t have official notices on them, as they are required to do.

“In Auckland alone, there are 1053 buildings registered as earthquake prone but the official register is showing that just one has a notice to alert the public it’s earthquake-prone. In Wellington just 273 out of 577 buildings have a notice.

“It’s much the same across New Zealand, though some places are better than others.

“It’s the job of local councils to make sure these notices are on buildings in public view but many are obviously not bothering. And nor is anyone policing compliance.

“The MBIE website makes it very clear: ‘EPB notices must be placed on all buildings that are determined to be earthquake prone.’

“There’s a whole process about how earthquake-prone buildings are determined and how they’re followed up and notified, but in many cases it’s not happening and people are being kept in the dark because building owners are not being made to comply.

“In New Zealand we’re great at managing disasters but we’re not very good at managing risk.

“This app is designed to change that by filling the gap where official processes are failing.

“It’s all about creating situational awareness so people can get the information they need so they know more about their environment so they can be safer.”

The EQ Prone Building App #eqpronenz can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play.


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