The big one: Are you ready?
After the Christchurch earthquakes, many of us set up emergency kits, at home, under our desk at work, or in a backpack in the car. We are prepared at home. Well, I thought we were – we have installed a tank for water, have food in the pantry, a gas cooker, torch and a radio.
Then the big storm hit last month.
Power was cut, but we were OK. We were ready, able to keep warm and have a hot drink until the power came back on and everything returned to normal.
But other problems revealed.
The phone was an issue – we could not make a call or receive any because our phone is connected to the power supply.
So, on to my list of things to buy was an ‘‘old-fashioned phone’’, one that plugs directly into the telephone jack and does not require power.
We have a cell phone, which would have been OK if we had topped it up and been able to recharge it overnight.
Another problem was getting the car out of the garage (electric garage opener) and not knowing where to disengage the door and open it.
I decided I could catch a bus to work, except I had no cash and hadn’t seen a bus pass the house all morning.
I ended up taking a taxi after ensuring it would accept eftpos (lucky I had money in the bank,
were otherwise that would have been another issue).
So, more things for my to-do list – put a small amount of cash aside, just in case, and find out how to work the garage door when the power is out.
At the Citizens Advice Bureau on the Friday after the storm, we received questions about problems like those I faced.
We all need to be more prepared for such events.
The biggest lesson from the inquiries was that not everyone has battery radios.
They are needed to keep up with what’s happening and where or who to ring if assistance is needed.
There are websites available to advise us about how to be prepared – getthru.govt.nz for businesses and also civildefence. govt.nz.
We can also provide you with some good information at the
Citizens Advice Bureau.
Storm warning: The storm last month was a reminder of how quickly Mother Nature can upset our normal daily routines.