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How we’ll hear if quake hits Wellington

Sep 6th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

quakeproof MAIN

By Sam Guzzo and Alice Petrie

VEHICLES fitted with sirens and messages are on standby if an emergency strikes in Wellington.

A fleet of city council vehicles equipped with loud speakers is available to inform the public using on how to proceed in a disaster.

“A lot of our vehicles are four-wheel drive and we have big off-roading loaders and dumpers that will work in the most challenging environments,” says council health and safety advisor Zac Jordan.

These can push obstacles out of the way if need be, he says.

The vehicles are stored at various locations around the city and at the instruction of the Wellington Emergency Management Office (WEMO) can travel to the closest civil defence container to pick up the sirens.

There are three such containers sited around the city, at Owhiro Bay, Newtown and at the Wellington Emergency Management Office headquarters in Thorndon.

Each container has seven sirens, equipment to fit them and MP3 players to broadcast messages through the siren speakers.

Wellington Emergency Management works closely with GNS Science and Wellington City council to keep the public informed and up to date with relevant disaster information.

Texts alerts about large scale emergencies in Wellington are available free to your mobile phone.

WEMO will also put out vital information through local radio stations.

 “Having a radio with batteries is most important for receiving information,” says Mr Jordan.

How to prepare

WELLINGTON Region Emergency Management guide provides simple steps to ensure household is prepared for an emergency.

 The emergency guide covers knowing the risks, what to do before, during, and after a natural disaster and how to protect yourself and your family as best you can.

 An effective step for preparing for an emergency is to know your neighbour.

Forming a Neighbourhood Support Group in your street is a good way to connect with your neighbours.

Identifying a meeting place outside your neighbourhood where you and your family can stay if you are not able to return home is an important step to ensure safety.

 Arranging someone to collect your children from a school or childhood centre if you are unable to is vital, and making sure the school or early childhood centre knows their names.

 Location of utilities is also important, your household needs to know where the water toby, electricity meter board and gas meter board are. These utilities will also need to be turned off in an emergency to prevent further disasters.

 Having an evacuation route is essential to your family’s survival in an emergency as some areas of the Wellington region are at risk of tsunamis.

 To find out if you live in a tsunami zone contact your local council and ask if there are any pre-planned evacuation routes in place, if not, create your own.

 Your council will be vital for sources of information. Ways to source information include calling your council, viewing their website, listening to radio, and watching television.

 Local council can also tell you the location of your nearest Civil Defence Centre.

 Households should have at least three days of food supplies and up to three litres of fresh drinking water, per person per day.

 A battery operated or wind-up radio or torch is an essential item, as well as spare batteries.

 An emergency toilet should be set in place such as a bucket or putting a large rubbish bag in the existing toilet and making sure it’s securely covered when not in use.

 If you take medication always make sure there is at least a month’s supply of medication available, and a first aid kit is easily accessible. 

WE'RE SORTED: Survival gear held at Whitireia Journalism School's city campus.

WE'RE SORTED: Survival gear held at Whitireia Journalism School's city campus.

Essential survival items:

  • Enough water for three days or more.
  • Non-perishable food (canned or dried), manual can opener.
  • Torch(es).
  • Wind-up or battery powered AM/FM radio.
  • Spare batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Essential medicines.
  • Toilet paper and large plastic bags for an emergency toilet.
  • Face and dust masks.
  • Supplies for babies and small children.
  • Pet supplies.
  • Work gloves.
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