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New View On Tsunami Preparedness Through VR Simulation

When it comes to tsunami, one of the best ways to prepare is to know the best decisions to make during a long and strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

That’s why Tauranga Emergency Management staff will be out and about at popular beach and coastal locations this summer giving residents and visitors the opportunity to try a new virtual reality (VR) headset showcasing an evacuation simulation.

The 10-minute simulation takes the user on a natural disaster response experience and is based on the predicted tsunami impacts on the Mount Maunganui coastline. The user is tasked with making decisions in order to evacuate and stay safe.

The headset will be available at Emergency Management stalls and along with having the VR headset on hand, Emergency Management staff will also have flyers covering all of Tauranga’s evacuation zones and be able to offer tips on how to react best during an evacuation.

Tauranga Emergency Management Team Leader Dan Pearce says the headset provides another method for residents to be ready.

“This is an excellent tool for improving the community understanding of earthquake and tsunami. The VR experience goes hand-in-hand with knowing local evacuation maps, practicing evacuation walks, and having a grab bag ready at home.”

Evacuation maps were updated in October to show a single, blue evacuation zone for the areas a tsunami could reach. Tsunami safe locations are also included on the maps, and in the event of a tsunami people should walk, run or cycle to these safe locations or make their way out of the blue zone.

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