Alert a good reminder

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 15:26 15/02/2013

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Kaikoura

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A tsunami alert on Waitangi Day has prompted reminders from Kaikoura's civil defence and emergency management officer that residents and businesses need to have a plan in place.

Don Clark said that while there had been no real threat to Kaikoura, the situation had served to highlight the vulnerability of the district and its communities.

While Wednesday's alert was advisory rather than a full-scale warning for Canterbury, he said every resident and business needed to have a resilience plan in place.

Mr Clark monitored the situation soon after the quake hit the Santa Cruz Islands just after 2pm and began to gather intelligence to find out what was happening as soon as he heard of the risk to New Zealand.

"There were warnings in place for the North Island and West Coast but not here," he said. "In the case of an actual warning, the emergency operations centre would be opened."

In a warning situation, Mr Clark said if an evacuation need arose, emergency services including police and fire brigade would be used, and phone trees and local radio would be informed to get the message out.

Local businesses and event organisers are reminded to have emergency preparedness plans in place and these should be submitted to him so that he is aware in the case of emergency.

"It just gives us an idea of what is happening out there and where... It's really about peace of mind."

Businesses are required to have such a plan in place by law, he said.

The tsunami threat on Wednesday was from a distance event, which means that a wave could take several hours before it is a risk to New Zealand's coastline.

Mr Clark said the event provided a good opportunity to remind people that in the case of a local event, be it tsunami or earthquake, the event itself is the warning.

"You need to act immediately in a local event - the earthquake or big wave is your warning. There will be no sirens."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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