Region preparing for future shocks

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 22/01/2014

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Sales of batteries, torches and water have leapt as Manawatu people make sure they're prepared for the worst.

Monday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake caused minor damage across Palmerston North and in Manawatu and Wairarapa regions.

Yesterday, supermarkets and hardware stores reported an increase in sales of emergency-related items.

While the buying hadn't had the look of panic, New World Melody's manager Kelly Melody said sales of torches had gone up.

At Countdown's stores, sales of bottled water had gone up, while over at Mitre 10 Mega, manager Bevan Brabyn said shoppers were walking out with batteries, torches and brackets to affix heavy objects to walls.

Palmerston North City Council head of emergency management Stewart Davies said the quake was the latest of a number of reminders that New Zealand was the "shaky isles".

It was only a matter of time before another earthquake struck the region and people needed to be prepared.

"This is more important now as GNS scientists are predicting aftershocks for some time to come."

He said people should secure items such as wall units, bookshelves, hot water cylinders and televisions. A good rule of thumb was if it could fall and hurt someone then it should be secured to a wall, he said.

The earthquake had damaged chimneys in the city, he said, and people needed to have them checked, even if there was no visible damage.

"I want to urge everyone with fireplaces to have them checked out," he said.

"Historically, there have been cases of fires in homes many months after earthquakes, caused by an unchecked damaged chimney. Be safe, be certain and get it checked out."

Council spokesman Daniel O'Regan said the earthquake was a reminder that people needed to have supplies at home for use in an emergency. That should include water and food for three days, he said, and it should be somewhere accessible.

More information is available online at getthru.govt.nz.

Mr O'Regan said Palmerston North had been lucky to avoid more serious damage. Some residents had been frightened by the quake, he said, and he expected it to be a talking point for some time.

- Additional reporting by Kathryn King

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- Manawatu Standard

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