Minister for Emergency Management, Kiri Allan, is challenging more people to join the almost 650,000 who have already signed up to take part in the nationwide ShakeOut drill, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.
“ShakeOut, New Zealand’s annual national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is a great opportunity for all of us to put our preparedness to the test,” Minister Allan said.
“By practising Drop Cover Hold keeping yourself safe in an earthquake becomes second nature.
“For those of you who live, work or play near the coast, ShakeOut is a chance to familiarise yourself with your evacuation route so you know exactly where to go when a tsunami happens.
“Last year, Matatā School in Bay of Plenty led our national ShakeOut drill, and a few months later, on 5 March, many of those children and their families had to evacuate from a real tsunami threat.
“It was really heartening to hear that doing ShakeOut empowered those tamariki and gave them confidence to do the right thing on the day.”
The Minister said ShakeOut was also a great time to make a household emergency plan.
“If you’ve had a korero with your whanau, flatmates, or neighbours about how you can help each other in an emergency, great; that’s a plan.”
“We recognise that COVID-19 is front of mind at the moment, but it’s important we don’t lose sight of the other emergencies that can happen in Aotearoa.
“And remember when an earthquake or tsunami happens, it’s still important to stay safe from COVID-19, so make sure you have face coverings and hand sanitiser in your grab bag, and continue to physical distance if you need to evacuate,” the Minister said.
The 2021 Colmar Brunton Disaster Preparedness Survey shows that while Kiwis are doing well at knowing the right actions to take in an earthquake or tsunami, household preparedness has fallen after spiking last year. This follows a similar pattern to the Canterbury and Kaikōura-Hurunui earthquakes, and suggests complacency is kicking in, Ms Allan said.
“Many of you will have felt the 5.9 earthquake last Friday. Patterns show that Kiwis tend to get themselves prepared after a big emergency happens. We need to flip this around.”
“Just a little bit of preparation can make a huge difference when a disaster happens,” she said.
The Minister is set to take part in ShakeOut 2021 with Year 7 & 8 students pupils at Thorndon School in Wellington.