Helping people make it through
The Horizons Regional Council is on the brink of launching a programme that will make it even easier for households nationally to be prepared for a natural disaster.
Statistics show that only about 20 per cent of households have emergency kits that could help them survive, so Horizons emergency manager Shane Bayley came up with an idea he hopes will ensure communities around the country will be more resilient during an emergency.
The Get Through@Home system can be implemented by community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch. People will go into a home and show families exactly how they can get their home ready to better deal with earthquakes or other natural disasters.
"Sometimes people want to be prepared but they are not sure exactly how to do it. With Get Through@Home, someone will come into your house and show you how to chain your TV to the wall or secure the hot-water cylinder, for example."
He said the idea was inspired by the Fire Service. "They go into people's homes and install fire alarms and help them create escape plans."
Mr Bayley said the programme also got neighbours to talk to each other, which he said created bonds that were vital in times of a disaster.
"A simple thing of having a cup of tea with your neighbours before a disaster strikes can make a difference as you look out for each other."
The resource kit, which comes packaged in a handy tin box, was created with $40,000 from the Government's resilience fund and took six months to put together.
Mr Bayley said the concept and kit had been embraced by Civil Defence and the branding was in line with the Get Ready Get Through programme already in place.
"We will be rolling the kits out to councils and then councils can employ and train people to deliver the programme or train community groups to do it."
Mr Bayley said people were a lot more aware of the importance of being prepared for disasters after the Christchurch earthquakes and recently 18,000 people had signed up to take part in the New Zealand ShakeOut, a nationwide earthquake drill at 9.26am on September 26.
The number is third only to Auckland and Wellington in a collective effort to have 1 million people from throughout New Zealand involved in the earthquake drill.