Kids might be grateful one day - super-prepared mum

EVER READY: Lisa Walshe and her earthquake emergency shed. She started with sleeping bags and candles and slowly built up supplies.
EVER READY: Lisa Walshe and her earthquake emergency shed. She started with sleeping bags and candles and slowly built up supplies.

While frantic Wellingtonians have drained supermarket shelves of water in the wake of Sunday's earthquake, Lisa Walshe has been able to relax.

The 48-year-old mother of three is among the most prepared people in the city, with a garden shed dedicated to emergency preparedness.

"I wasn't daunted because I knew we had everything," she said yesterday about Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake.

The Karori resident said she started small when she began preparing for the big one back in 2005 when her family moved to Wellington from Auckland.

"There were quite a lot of quakes that year and it scared our kids. I started at that point with things like the sleeping bags and the candles and just like the very basics."

Now neighbours joke they'll be making a beeline for the Walshe house if the big one hits, after they built the kitset shed to store all their supplies.

Mrs Walshe said they built the shed after she realised that under the stairs may not be the best place to store the supplies.

"I thought that's bloody stupid because if the house collapses and it's under the staircase of the house, how would we get the stuff?"

Inside the wooden shed, supplies are stored in plastic containers, with everything from toothbrushes to bedding, and even a tent neatly packed away.

There's food for the people and the pets, medicine, and cards - plus a book of card games - to keep them entertained.

There's also 80 litres of water, enough to get the family through the recommended three days with water to spare for cooking and washing.

She keeps a spreadsheet reminding her when to refresh supplies and check expiry dates. Her children would sometimes laugh about her being so prepared. "They think it's hilarious that mum's a bit over the top . . . they might be grateful one day."

They were when the power went out on Sunday, she said. The gas stove was used to continue cooking dinner while candles and torches provided light.

While not everyone would be able to go to such lengths, the best thing to do was to start small, she said.


Food and water for at least three days.

Non-perishable food (dried or canned – plus a can opener); food, formula and drinks for babies and small children; water for drinking – at least 3 litres per person per day.

Water for washing and cooking.

A primus or gas barbecue to cook on.

Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch.

Radio with spare batteries.

Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats and strong outdoor shoes.

First-aid kit and essential medicines.

Blankets or sleeping bags.

Pet supplies.

Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet.

Face and dust masks.

BUT . . .

Don't just stock it and forget about it.

Remember: Check and replace food and water every year.

Consider stocking a two-week supply of food and water for longer emergencies such as a pandemic.

Check batteries every three months.

Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest as candles can tip over.

Do not use kerosene lamps, which require ventilation. 

The Dominion Post