Christchurch Earthquake 2011
A quake refugee will be amongst more than 1 million people who will "drop, cover and hold" this morning in New Zealand's biggest emergency drill.
The New Zealand ShakeOut will start at 9.26am, with people in offices, schools and homes around the country encouraged to slide quickly under the nearest table.
Sam Etheredge left Christchurch to escape the quakes and now lives in Wellington. And this morning he will be braced against the doorway again.
After the February 2011 quake struck, Etheredge packed his car and abandoned his damaged central Christchurch home.
"I just couldn't really live there. You can't sleep because of the shaking, thinking it might be another big one," he said.
When the earthquake struck last year, Etheredge was working at Christchurch casino and watched dozens of people flee outside, contrary to prevailing wisdom that you should never leave a building during an earthquake.
"The place just emptied. I ran out of the building too."
This time around, he is planning to do it right - "although I still don't have water stored away".
Civil Defence director John Hamilton said the Canterbury quakes had showed that many people still did not know how to respond during a quake.
"People don't always do what the best practice indicates they should," he said. "By doing this en masse we can capture those people on the fringes."
Civil Defence was hoping for more than 1 million participants but by yesterday nearly 1.3 million people had already registered.
"It has been an absolutely fabulous response across the country."
Civil Defence had based the ShakeOut on similar drills in California, where as many as 8 million people participated, he said.
Wellington has emerged as a huge supporter of the drill, with more than 170,000 residents in the area registering.
Quake-weary Cantabrians were less enthusiastic, with only 15 per cent of Christchurch residents signing up.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you satisfied with your Fletcher EQR repairs?Related story: Fletcher EQR denies liability for damage