Porirua residents least prepared for disaster

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 13:44 13/11/2012

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Porirua residents are the least prepared in the Wellington region for a major disaster while those in the Hutt Valley and Kapiti the most, a new survey shows.

In a briefing to Porirua City Council, Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) manager Bruce Pepperell and Porirua/Kapiti co-ordinator Trevor Farmer outlined the results of a survey, which was carried out face-to-face with more than 900 participants in the region.

The data highlighted that Porirua residents are not adequately prepared for a major disaster compared to those in other parts of the region.

The Hutt Valley and Kapiti were the most prepared overall for a disaster to strike.

Wellington city residents came out well in the survey in terms of keeping emergency supplies, but did not fare so well when it came to ensuring their homes were earthquake safe.

Less than 5 per cent of Wellingtonians said their chimney would remain standing in an earthquake, and just under 20 per cent have secured moveable objects in their homes.

In all areas, about 20 per cent of residents have furniture fastened.

About 40 per cent of Wellington residents are satisfied their houses will stand up in a major earthquake.

About 20 per cent of Waitangirua, Kenepuru, Elsdon, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay residents are satisfied their houses would survive a major earthquake.

By comparison 60 per cent of Otaki, Peka Peka and Te Horo residents are satisfied their houses will stand up in a major earthquake.

Most Wellingtonians have stocked up on emergency supplies - about 80 per cent have stored water, torches, a first aid kit and an alternate cooking source. Seventy-five per cent keep tinned food, and 65 per cent have a battery operated radios.

In the Hutt Valley, Te Horo and Peka Peka about 50 per cent of residents have stored water, but only 40 per cent have done so in Whitby.

When it comes to arranging a place to meet family after a disaster strikes, less than 30 per cent of Waitangirua, Elsdon, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay residents have plan while 75 per cent of Hutt Valley residents surveyed said they had made meeting place plans.

Fifty per cent of Wellingtonians said they had organised a family meeting place.

Mr Pepperell said the findings for Porirua were "disappointing".

"Many of us live in one part of the region, work in another, and sometimes have our children somewhere else. Everyone needs to have plans in place," Mr Pepperell said.

Previous research from Colmar Brunton showed Wellington was better-prepared than other regions, but the WREMO survey is of concern, he said.

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Many residents in lower socio- economic suburbs have fewer "preparedness enablers", such as torches and first-aid kits, due to the expense.

"You would not believe the costs for things out there, things that people need to survive.

"Sixty dollars for a good torch is ridiculous," Mr Pepperell said.

The survey will be presented by WREMO to the region's mayors this week.

Recommendations include further education and the belief that "fresh ways are required to engage with communities on preparedness matters".

Survival tools should be more affordable and promoted in a way that encourages people to buy them.

The perception that civil defence is an emergency service and responsible for search and rescue needed to be corrected, Mr Pepperell said.

"We're semi-autonomous, we represent nine councils but it is important we are not captured by one.

"We have a staff of 20 that will support 500,000 people, but we are the glue that will provide a system to empower people to deal with emergencies.

"There will be managers in all parts of the region and we have a very flexible approach."

He and the WREMO team are available to talk to organisations, workplaces and schools.

Mr Farmer said residents' groups in Ranui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay and Titahi Bay were putting effective emergency plans in place but he urged councillors to get the message out. 

- Kapi-Mana News

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