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Kapiti rest homes ready for tsumani action

Sep 5th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

TWO Paraparaumu rest homes are not only aware of their tsunami zone, they have an action plan in place.

Staff at Kapiti Rest Home, in Paraparaumu Beach’s red tsunami zone, pictured, can evacuate all 30 elderly residents within seven minutes for a fire drill.

There would be a similar result if the rest home received a tsunami warning, says manager Karen Hall.

“We have managed to get everyone out in five minutes for the morning shift with everybody on,” she says. “It would depend how much warning we got.”

Recent quakes have thrown the spotlight on preparedness.

With a 15 minute tsunami warning the Kapiti Coast District Council civil defence manager Bernie Goedhart rings Ms Hall, whose number is on the civil defence file.

She then notifies her staff to begin the evacuation procedure, while the council sends a bus to take residents to higher ground.

However, if there is a major earthquake and no warning, staff are required to look after their own safety and check on their families first, rather than make the residents their first priority.

“Let’s hope that never happens,” says Ms Hall.

Kenakena Rest Home, in the orange zone, has three residential wings, and only evacuates the relevant wing during fire drills.

This makes it difficult to accurately assess the amount of time it would take to do a full evacuation, but it would probably be about five minutes, says nurse manager Heather Rye.

“It would really depend on the mobility of the residents we had in at the time,” she says.

The rest home caters for 41 elderly people who would be evacuated to higher ground in the home’s van and staff cars if there was enough warning.

“We’d cram them all in somehow,” says Ms Rye. “Let’s hope we never get a big one though.”

The council’s website contains detailed information about the tsunami zones, and encourages every family within the red, orange or yellow zones to have a strategy if a tsunami does happen.

The plan should be to move inland or to higher ground.

According to the website, the Kapiti Coast has been assessed as the least likely region in the greater Wellington area to experience a tsunami.


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