Quake drill planned

Neil Brown
Neil Brown
Dunedin's emergency response managers will take the opportunity during New Zealand's first nationwide earthquake drill to practise, in theory, how they would respond to an earthquake emergency in the city.

Emergency response services will take part in the New Zealand ShakeOut exercise at 9.26am on September 26, then head to Dunedin's Civil Defence headquarters in Moray Pl where they will take part in a desk-top exercise responding to an earthquake disaster in the city.

They will join the more than 12,000 Otago people, including 8600 in Dunedin, already registered for ShakeOut drill. Organisers are hoping for more than 1 million participants.

The aim of the exercise is to help people and organisations get better prepared for major earthquakes and practise how to be protected when they happen.

Dunedin city council civil defence and rural fires manager Neil Brown said a major annual disaster response exercise was usually held during Disaster Reduction Week in October but, as the topic of this year's exercise was a major earthquake, it seemed appropriate to hold the exercise on the day of the drill.

About 50 senior people involved in emergency response would gather at the civil defence headquarters in Moray Pl for the day and work through different scenarios on paper.

He encouraged people to sign up for the ShakeOut exercise, which was a great opportunity to raise people's consciousness about disaster preparedness, Mr Brown said.

It was also good that the campaign was reinforcing the basic message of "drop, cover and hold".

"With mass communication a lot of attention has been given to alternative theories and people do get confused about what to do in an earthquake."

The ShakeOut website, which had much good information about local risk and how to get prepared, was worth visiting as was the city council's site or, for those who did not use computers, a booklet was available from the council.

Although there was a variation of earthquake activity across the country, a big earthquake could happen anywhere, and people could be somewhere away from their home and place of work when an earthquake happens, so everyone should be prepared.

The website of the ShakeOut exercise is www.shakeout.govt.nz


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