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Make a Family Plan
Talk to your family about what you would do in an emergency.
Think about how you would contact each other if the cellphone network wasn't working. Agree where to meet if there's an earthquake while you're at work and the kids at school. Make sure everyone know how to turn of the water and power to the house. Ensure you always have plenty of food and basics stored, including drinking water. And have torches and spare batteries easily to hand in the dark.
For more advice and hints check out www.getthru.govt.nz for more information.
Store Essential Supplies for Three Days
In an emergency, you may need to cope in your home for up to three days. Think about what your family will need, and stock up next time you go shopping. Useful items include:
- Non-perishable food, like rice, pasta and tinned food,
- Water - enough for 3 litres a day for every member of your household,
- BBQ or camping stove to cook,
- Torch (and spare batteries),
- Car charger for your cellphone.
There are other things to keep well stocked that you or your family may rely on, such as firewood in the winter. Imagine the roads are blocked and you can’t get to the supermarket or chemist for a few days. What would this mean for you and those relying on you? Do you have three days’ supply of any special food – baby formula, for example? What about medication? Is your first aid kit well stocked?
Remember also that your pets will get hungry and thirsty too so you need to keep a good stock in for them.
Get Your Place of Work Ready
How would an emergency affect your business operations? Many Christchurch businesses suffered badly and some went under because they had no continuity plans. At the simplest level, this includes having off-site back-up for your records and information, or arrangements to source a generator for back-up power. Could your staff work from home, or in alternative premises, to keep your business going? Could you come to an arrangement with another business for mutual assistance?
Look around your workplace and consider the safety of your staff and customers. Talk to your staff about your plans for coming to work on snow days, if access is blocked by floods or a rockfall, and what help you could offer them if they couldn't get home at the end of the day.
Being prepared for emergencies is easy. And the more prepared you are, the better your family will manage when the unexpected happens.
Pets and Livestock
Remember to include them in your emergency planning. Animals may be frightened by a storm, an earthquake or floods, and they may run off. If you have to evacuate in a hurry, you may not be able to take animals with you.
Microchipping your pets or ensuring they have a collar tag with your contact details will help your chances of finding a lost pet. And when you’re putting your household emergency kit together, remember to include pet food and water.
Get Your Vehicle Ready
What would you do if you were stuck on the road for several hours, or even overnight, because of flooded roads, heavy snow or rockfalls? In winter we carry chains and ice-scrapers but every vehicle should also have a first aid kit, a torch and a car charger for your cellphone. A bottle of water, some food and a rug are also useful. If you're stuck in your car in an isolated area, it's safest to remain in your vehicle until help arrives, unless you're at risk of being trapped in floodwater.
Get to Know Your Neighbours
We know from the Christchurch experience and other disasters around the world that communities where people know their neighbours are more resilient and cope better in emergencies. If you haven’t met the people who live over the fence or across the road from you, today’s a great day to reach out and say gidday. You don't have to live in each other's pockets but maybe start by swapping phone numbers.
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