Poorest are least prepared
Porirua residents are not adequately prepared for a major disaster, according to a survey conducted by the newly formed Wellington Region Emergency Management Office.
In a briefing to Porirua City Council last week, WREMO’s manager Bruce Pepperell and Porirua/Kapiti co-ordinator Trevor Farmer outlined the results of the survey which was carried out face-to-face with more than 900 participants in the region.
The data highlighted that Hutt Valley and Kapiti residents were the most prepared for a disaster to strike.
The findings in Porirua were‘‘ disappointing’’, Mr Pepperell said.
Just 20 per cent of Waitangirua, Kenepuru, Elsdon, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay residents are satisfied their houses will survive a major earthquake.
In all suburbs, about 20 per cent of residents have furniture fastened.
Water storage – recommended 15 litres per person per day for 10 days – is poorest in Whitby, with 40 per cent admitting to not having enough stored if water is cut off.
30 per cent of Elsdon, Kenepuru, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay homes have buckets and toilet paper for use as an emergency toilet.
A positive sign, 50 per cent of Porirua workplaces have emergency plans in place, but Wellington – 70 per cent – comfortably leads this category.
Worryingly, less than 30 per cent of Waitangirua, Elsdon, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay residents have arrangements in place to meet family after a disaster strikes.
‘‘Many of us live in one part of the region, work in another, and sometimes have our children somewhere else. Everyone needs to have plans in place,’’ Mr Pepperell said.
Previous research from Colmar Brunton showed Wellington was better- prepared than other regions but the WREMO survey is of concern, he said.
Many residents in lower socioeconomic suburbs have fewer ‘‘preparedness enablers’’, such as torches and first-aid kits, due to the expense.
‘‘You would not believe the costs for things out there, things that people need to survive.
‘‘Sixty dollars for a good torch is ridiculous,’’ Mr Pepperell said.
The survey will be presented by WREMO to the region’s mayors this week.
Recommendations include further education and the belief that ‘‘ fresh ways are required to engage with communities on preparedness matters’’.
Survival tools should be more affordable and promoted in a way that encourages people to buy them.
The perception that civil defence is an emergency service and responsible for search and rescue needed to be corrected, Mr Pepperell said.
‘‘ We’re semi- autonomous, we represent nine councils but it is important we are not captured by one.
‘‘We have a staff of 20 that will support 500,000 people, but we are the glue that will provide a system to empower people to deal with emergencies.
‘‘There will be managers in all parts of the region and we have a very flexible approach.’’
He and the WREMO team are available to talk to organisations, workplaces and schools.
Mr Farmer said residents’ groups in Ranui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay and Titahi Bay were putting effective emergency plans in place but he urged councillors to get the message out.
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