Kiwis get set for morning throwdown
Ready to drop, cover and holdBEN HEATHER
More than 1.3 million people will drop, cover and hold this morning in New Zealand's biggest emergency drill.
The New Zealand ShakeOut will start at 9.26am, with people in offices, schools and homes around the country sliding quickly under the nearest table.
Civil Defence director John Hamilton said the Canterbury quakes had showed that many people still did not know how to respond during a quake.
"People don't always do what the best practice indicates they should," he said. "By doing this en masse we can capture those people on the fringes."
Civil Defence was hoping for more than 1 million participants but by yesterday nearly 1.3 million people had already registered.
"It has been an absolutely fabulous response across the country."
Civil Defence had based the ShakeOut on similar drills in California, where as many as 8 million people participated, he said.
Wellington has emerged as a huge supporter of the drill, with more than 170,000 residents in the area registering.
A mass drill will be held at Wellington International Airport.
Quake-weary Cantabrians were less enthusiastic, with only 15 per cent of Christchurch residents signing up.
Many Wellingtonians who spoke to The Dominion Post said they would participate despite not registering, meaning that the final number taking part could be much higher.
However, others said they would not be joining in, either because they would be asleep or working.
Surprisingly, while many people said they'd be participating in the drill, few had taken other safety measures such as having emergency kits or stored water.
READY AND WAITING
If the Big One hits Wellington, Phillip Havill will be ready with a survival shed, emergency kit and two dozen beers.
But this morning he will be joining more than 78,000 Wellingtonians by dashing underneath his oak dining table and pretending to hang on for his life.
Mr Havill, 61, is the perfectly quake-ready citizen, just as well as his Thorndon property sits on Wellington's major fault line. He has a standalone survival shed, emergency blanket, a gas cooker and water to last him for weeks.
"Too many people don't worry until it actually happens."
He has removed his chimneys and has two dozen beers in his shed to help him survive a major earthquake.
"Beers don't go off like water."
QUAKE REFUGEE READY FOR DRILL
Sam Etheredge left Christchurch to escape the quakes but this morning he will be braced against the doorway again. When the February 2011 quake struck, Mr Etheredge packed his car and abandoned his damaged central Christchurch home.
"I just couldn't really live there. You can't sleep because of the shaking, thinking it might be another big one," he said.
More than a year later, he is taking part in the nationwide earthquake drill, New Zealand ShakeOut, from his Thorndon home.
"I just feel it's something I should do."
When the earthquake struck last year, Mr Etheredge was working at Christchurch casino and watched dozens of people flee outside, contrary to prevailing wisdom that you should never leave a building during an earthquake.
"The place just emptied. I ran out of the building too."
This time around, he is planning to do it right - "although I still don't have water stored away"
WHAT TO DO IN AN EARTHQUAKE
DROP on to your hands and knees (before the earthquake knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
COVER your head and neck under a sturdy table. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. If you are outside, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, or power lines, then drop, cover and hold. If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
HOLD on to your shelter until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
BE READY FOR THE BIG ONE
Every earthquake kit should at least contain:
Torch and radio with spare batteries
Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
First aid kit and essential medicines
Blankets or sleeping bags
Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
Face and dust masks
Non-perishable food for three days
Food, formula and drinks for babies and small children
Water for drinking for three days, with three litres a person, a day
Water for washing and cooking
A primus or gas barbecue
A can opener
- © Fairfax NZ News
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