Little things count in earthquake prep
The Kaikoura earthquake has got me thinking about what it means to be prepared for a really big shake – especially if it hits in the dead of night.
We need to think through what it would really be like and what we can do right now to prepare.
Our local Civil Defence team does an incredible job of promoting messages about being prepared and are ready to respond when disaster strikes. But as individuals are we as ready as we should be?
As a professional engineer, I understand the uncertainty of not knowing when an earthquake might occur. What concerns me is how I will look after myself and my family, and how we’ll fare as a city. And it’s the seemingly little things that will make a huge difference.
In the dead of night it’s likely we’ll lose power, and keeping a torch by your bed will give you an instant source of light.
You can also buy plugin torches that are constantly charging and come on in response to movement, so they’re great for your hallway.
Keeping a pair of shoes near your bed is also a good idea, as in a bad shake there could be broken glass.
The other thing to consider is what you’ll do if you can’t access your car. Your garage door could be jammed, or your car could be trapped in a car parking building.
We need to be prepared to look after ourselves for three to five days. In that time your mobile phone will go flat and money machines could be down, so you’ll need a plan for communicating with your family, and some cash.
You’re going to get thirsty and hungry, and will need some means of washing yourself and going to the toilet. And don’t forget your pets will need water and food too.
Having a kit on hand will make a world of difference. You can find lots of helpful information at civildefence.govt.nz about what should go in your kit.
It’s also a great idea to have a grab bag in case you need to leave your house quickly. In Wellington there were several people who couldn’t return home for days, and having a grab bag means basic things like shoes, water, muesli bars, a jacket, cash, personal medical supplies and important documents are on hand.
Putting together a kit is not easy for everyone as there is a cost involved, so think about the people you know who might need a hand setting one up. At the end of the day we’re all part of a community, and we need to look out for each other – especially when disaster strikes. Are you and your family ready?
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Several roads were damaged in last year’s Kaikoura earthquake.