Southlanders Poorly Prepared for Emergencies

Tuesday 5 October 2010, 12:22PM
By Environment Southland


Southland is constantly at risk from natural disasters that can cause disruption, property damage and even death, yet a recent survey shows most aren’t well prepared to cope with an emergency.
The phone survey on behalf of Emergency Management Southland showed that two thirds of residents have no plan for coping in an emergency. The most common reason for not having a civil defence plan is simply not having thought about it.

Next week is national Get Ready Week and Emergency Management Southland is using the opportunity to reinforce the importance of preparation to Southland residents. 

Emergency Management Southland staff and volunteers will be at selected supermarkets around the region throughout Get Ready Week to talk to customers about the need to be prepared and give practical advice.

New World South City, Invercargill, 8:30am – 5:30pm, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 October
New World Gore, 8:30am - 4:30pm, Thursday 14 October
New World Winton, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Friday 15 October
Fresh Choice Te Anau, 8:30am – 4:30pm, Saturday 16 October

Neil Cruickshank, the region’s civil defence controller and Manager of Emergency Management Southland, said people tended to assume they would always have easy access to shops, but as last month’s snowstorm and the Canterbury earthquake showed, supermarkets are just as vulnerable to disasters as any other building. “That’s why families need to have enough essential supplies to cope on their own for up to three days or longer,” Neil said.

Fortunately, the local picture is not all bad, but there’s considerable room for improvement.
The results from the Southland survey showed that over half the population does have non-perishable food and a torch in their home for use in an emergency , However, under half have bottled water and a first aid kit while a staggering 15% of residents have no emergency supplies ready at all.

Radio is the most reliable way of receiving civil defence messages, and every home should have a battery-powered radio, but only a quarter of younger residents and families with children said they had this essential item.

Emergency Management Southland encourages all Southlanders to make a household emergency plan and put together an emergency survival kit and a getaway kit ready in case of evacuation. Plans need to include dependants such as elderly or disabled relatives, as well as pets and and livestock.
There’s more information about preparing for emergencies on the Ministry of Civil Defence’s website and Emergency Management Southland’s website