Topic: Environment

Valentine's Day quake timely reminder to be better prepared

  • South Island

The recent Valentine's Day earthquake that shook Christchurch on Sunday, highlights the importance of both individual and collective preparedness.

The 5.7 magnitude quake struck within a week out from the fifth anniversary of the February 22, 2011 earthquake.

Research by the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) shows people underestimate the consequences of an event and overestimate their personal preparedness.

Dr Wendy Saunders of NZPI says, “Due to its location and environment, New Zealand faces many potential disasters. In some cases, such as a weather related or volcanic disaster, there may be time for a warning. But an earthquake or a tsunami close to land could strike without warning.

“All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives. So it's vital that you prepare now

People in Christchurch need to be aware that earthquakes will continue to shake the area for some time yet.  As such, they need to be prepared, both at home and work, for the unnerving earthquake pay us a visit, and associated with that the possible disruption of services.  Remember – drop, cover, hold in the event of a large earthquake," Saunders adds.

The website provides details on how to get ready for a disaster, including: find out about possible disasters that could affect you; make and practice a household emergency plan; have some emergency survival items stored at home; and a getaway kit in case you need to leave home in a hurry.

Dr Saunders also encourages people to read the important information provided on the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management website to better prepare ourselves prior to any natural disaster. 

“As far as coastal areas in New Zealand, we are susceptible to tsunami, from both local source earthquakes as well as those from distant sources around the Pacific. Getting ready before a tsunami strikes will help reduce damage to your home and business and help you survive.  People should develop a Household Emergency Plan and have a Getaway Kit ready,” Dr Saunders says.