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 civilde­ 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?


The Tri­bune wel­comes let­ters. They should not ex­ceed 250 words and must carry a gen­uine name, home ad­dress and day­time phone num­ber. Let­ters may be edited, abridged or omit­ted with­out ex­pla­na­tion. They can be emailed to tri­ or posted to PO Box 3, Palmer­ston North to be re­ceived by 4pm on the Thurs­day prior to pub­li­ca­tion.


Sev­eral roads were dam­aged in last year’s Kaik­oura earth­quake.

Bruno Petrenas

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