Braced for disaster
Every family member needs to be prepared should disaster strike – even the four-legged variety.
This was one of the messages from the emergency preparedness workshops hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Takapuwahia recently.
More than 120 people attended the event on September 25. Porirua City emergency management team, Trevor Farmer and Kerry McSaveney, shared practical tips on what to do in a disaster and how to get ready.
Mr Farmer’s message was urgent: ‘‘You need to get ready for any emergency. As a family you need to get ready for emergencies at home, at school and at work.’’
At work or school, people should have drinking water – at least three litres per person per day – ready-to-eat food supplies, foot- wear to walk home in, a wind/ water proof jacket, a hat and a small first aid kit, he said.
‘‘At home you need an alternative way to cook food and boil water. Most of all you need to have a plan that everyone in your family knows and that they each understand what they will do.’’
Other presenters included Ken Birdling, area manager for Red Cross, who spoke of his Christchurch experience and the role of volunteers.
ANZ provided advice on insurance cover and church member Janet King rammed home the adage: ‘‘Use it up, wear it out; do it up or do without’’.
She said, ‘‘You don’t have to go to the camping shops.
‘‘They can be expensive. Just make your list, pray about it, and then go looking for what you need. Garage sales, shop sales, or recycle. You will be surprised at what you find, for cheap.’’
Ms King has ensured the family pets are ready too.
Her cat has a small house with supplies in it in case of an emergency, because ‘‘the cat won’t follow us’’. She has also made a 72-hour vest for the family dog, filled with supplies.
‘‘Siege goes everywhere with us. On holidays, everywhere, so we had to make sure she was ready too.’’
Event organiser Tania Torea was pleased with the response to emergency planning.
‘‘There is an excitement. People are thinking about being prepared as a normal part of their daily activity. One family called a special meeting a few days later to review their emergency kits and to put into place a plan, to ensure their family would be safe if, say, an earthquake hit Porirua during a working day.’’
The day after attending the workshops, one woman was drinking a soft drink and was going to throw the plastic bottle away, but then realised the size would be perfect for water storage for her toddler’s 72-hour backpack, said Ms Torea.
‘‘That thinking was new for her, and she was surprised at how simple it was to do something to prepare.’’
The ‘‘It’s Easy’’ emergency preparedness guide was distributed to attendees. Copies can be downloaded at pcc.govt.nz or contact the Porirua Emergency Management Office on 237 5089.
One prepared pooch: Janet King and her dog Siege show off her home-made survival jacket. They are pictured with Porirua City Council emergency management officer Kerry McSaveney.