Complacency setting in
The spate of earthquakes in the Wellington region over the past few days may have a positive spinoff as residents rush to top up their emergency preparations.
Ironically, the earthquakes struck just as a survey revealed that the number of Porirua people prepared for a natural disaster had dropped steadily over the past two years.
Trevor Farmer, Porirua City Council’s emergency management officer, said he was not surprised complacency was setting in over emergency preparations.
He said that in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes, there was a clamour to buy survival items and get plans in place.
He said a tail- off and complacency were inevitable.
‘‘ This is the reality of what occurs,’’ he said last week.
‘‘The quakes were two years ago.
‘‘I would think after the [June] storms, with all the power outages, and the earthquakes over the weekend, that figure of 62 per cent will climb again.
‘‘It never hurts to hammer home the need to be prepared.’’
Figures from the council’s annual residents’ survey, released last week, reveal that 62 per cent per cent of those asked said they had survival items, a household emergency plan, and enough food and water for three days.
That compared to 75 per cent in 2011 and 67 per cent last year, but was still higher than the 56 per cent who said they were prepared in 2010.
‘‘ People have to realise they need to help themselves if a disas- ter hits. The authorities may not be able to get to them,’’ Mr Farmer said. He said he would love to have the citywide annual number at 75 per cent.
People in the northern (74 per cent) and western (59 per cent) parts of Porirua were most prepared.
Just 48 per cent of residents in the east said they were ready.
Those most likely to say they had necessary survival items and a household emergency plan were aged over 40, European, ratepayers and in a household earning more than $40,000 a year.
Mr Farmer put a twist on those statistics.
‘‘I’m not too concerned about Porirua East. They have a great sense of community there and are more likely to know their neighbours.
‘‘In the north or west, there might be more meetings, better technology and more cash, but in the east you have strong churches, sport and other groups.’’
Mr Farmer said it was interesting to hear reactions to the recent earthquakes, with sheltering under desks common.
Some workers ran outside, a big no-no. Most people knew to brace themselves in a doorway, he said.
For more survey stories, see page 4.