Marlburians to join quake drill

04:00, Sep 25 2012
Abbie Davis
And hold: Riverland School year 4 pupils, from left, Abbie Davis, Levi Bown and Alice Wells, all aged 8, practise their earthquake drill ready for the Big ShakeOut tomorrow morning

More than 10,000 Marlburians will drop, cover and hold at 9.26am tomorrow as part of a national earthquake drill.

Thirty schools, 36 businesses and 95 individuals or families in the region are among those signed up for 2012 New Zealand ShakeOut.

It is the first nationwide earthquake drill, organised by the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Ministry, and more than 1.2 million people have registered to take part.

More than 7000 children in Marlborough, including pupils at Riverlands School in Blenheim, will duck for cover tomorrow morning.

Riverlands School principal Dave Parsons said children were probably better informed about earthquake safety than adults.

"At school we do these drills quite frequently," he said. "A lot of our children are pretty confident what to do in a school setting but hopefully this will encourage parents to talk about it at home."


Tomorrow's event would help Riverlands School review its own safety measures, Mr Parsons said.

The practice drill was a timely reminder after Blenheim experienced a couple of shakes this year, he said.

"It's always quite difficult to get across what it's really like in an earthquake, but we have a few children from Christchurch and they know exactly what it's like. I forget myself that they are in school and know all about the challenges for a school."

Those children were encouraged to discuss their earthquake experiences with classmates, Mr Parsons said.

Civil defence public information manager Vince Cholewa said drop, cover and hold was a clear and simple message that would hopefully encourage people to further review their emergency plans.

The biggest response to the 2012 ShakeOut had been from schools, but businesses had also shown a lot of interest, he said.

Businesses were doing more to prepare staff with allocated roles, he said.

Harcourts office manager Tracey Monaghan said different departments had different responsibilities in the event of an earthquake.

The property management division had come up with plans to get keys for rental properties, Mrs Monaghan said.

Sales consultants were looking at where they stored data and how best to contact families, she said.

Being located in one of Marlborough's tallest concrete buildings with a lot of glass panelling prompted Harcourts to take part in the 2012 ShakeOut.

"We thought it was a good, practical idea to address some [earthquake] issues," she said. "I'm fairly confident our staff are well up to speed."

Some radio stations will broadcast a brief announcement when the 2012 ShakeOut drill starts tomorrow, followed by the civil defence “sting”. The announcers will talk people through the drop, cover and hold drill for about 10 seconds.

The Marlborough Express