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Slip Slop Slap Scan? Check. Tsunami Ready? Check!

Planning on heading to the beach this summer? Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan is reminding all New Zealanders to be “tsunami ready” over the holiday break.

“New Zealand’s entire coastline is at risk of tsunami. That means most of us live near, or visit places that are at risk,” Kiri Allan said.

“When you’re hitting the beach, it’s important that you’re tsunami ready as well as sun smart.

“Remember the “Long or Strong, Get Gone” mantra, and make sure you check the local evacuation zones so if you have to evacuate, you know where to go.”

Kiri Allan says it’s also important to factor in COVID-19 into your emergency planning.

“Make sure you pack face coverings in your grab bag and holiday luggage. Remember that evacuations will always override any “stay at home” restrictions, but if you need to evacuate, try to keep two metres distance from others.”

The results from this year’s Annual Disaster Preparedness survey, commissioned by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) shows 85 percent of New Zealanders are aware they need to evacuate if they are near the coast and a long or strong earthquake happens.

NEMA‘s Long or Strong Get Gone campaign, being rolled out this summer, reinforces that message and reminds Kiwis of the right actions to take.

“Most of the tsunami New Zealand experiences aren’t large enough to flood land areas and cause major destruction. But that’s no reason to be complacent. Even small tsunami can generate strong currents and surges that could result in injury or death,” Kiri Allan said.

When a larger tsunami that could cause flooding of land areas is expected, people will need to move out of all tsunami evacuation zones. An Emergency Mobile Alert will be issued to areas under threat and warnings will be provided via radio, TV and on www.civildefence.govt.nz .

For a local source tsunami, which is generated close to the New Zealand coast and could arrive in minutes, there won’t be time for an official warning. It is important to recognise the natural warning signs and act quickly – Long or Strong, Get Gone.

“There is never a better time than now to learn more about your tsunami risk, know how to prepare and to update your plan to keep your whānau safe,” Kiritapu Allan said.

Find out more about being tsunami ready at www.getready.govt.nz

Tsunami ready safety tips

Long or Strong, Get Gone: If you’re near the coast and experience any of the following:

· Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more

· See a sudden rise or fall in sea level

· Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

· Don’t wait for an official warning; move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.

You’ll need to self-evacuate: In a local source tsunami, there won’t be time for emergency services to go door to door to coordinate evacuations. You must be prepared to self-evacuate.

Know your evacuation route: Check out your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s website for your local tsunami evacuation zone maps. Links to CDEM Groups tsunami evacuation zone maps can be found here. Practise your route.

Staying safe means staying informed: Know where to get information. Listen to the radio for updates. Warnings and evacuation maps will be issued via Emergency Mobile Alerts, the Civil Defence website, news media, and @NZCivilDefence Twitter.

Plan ahead if self-evacuation is a problem: If you have a disability or special requirements, make arrangements with your support network to alert you of any warnings and to help you evacuate.

Hīkoi not convoy: If possible, run, walk or cycle when evacuating from a tsunami. Roads may be damaged after a large earthquake, and you don’t want to get stuck in traffic in a tsunami zone.

Have a grab bag ready: Have a grab bag ready with food, water, warm clothes, a battery powered radio, and anything else you might need. Make sure you have face coverings and hand sanitiser in your grab bag, and pack them in your holiday luggage.

Don’t forget animals: If you have pets, domestic animals or livestock, include them in your evacuation planning.

Evacuate even if COVID-19 restrictions are in place: Tsunami evacuation instructions override any restrictions that may be in place requiring people to stay at home, such as COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions. Make sure you have face coverings in your grab bag and try to keep a two metre distance from others.

Media can also access Tsunami Warnings: A Guide for Media by the National Emergency Management Agency here.

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