When there's a tsunami threat look for the green bin

Liza Sparrow puts out a green bin. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Liza Sparrow puts out a green bin. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Hillside residents are being asked to take in people fleeing from the possibility of a tsunami.

And a green rubbish bin will be the marker that refuge is at hand.

The Sumner Residents’ Association has come up with the idea of people living on the hills to put out a green rubbish bin if a tsunami is on its way.

Said residents’ association deputy chairwoman Liza Sparrow: “If you want to host, putting your green bin out shows you have room at the inn. Green is for go.

“The community and emergency services have received this idea really positively.”

The idea blossomed via a team effort between the residents’ association and other Sumner organisations including the Sumner Volunteer Fire Brigade, Sumner Lifeboat Institute, and Sumner School. The goal was to design a local response to emergencies.

When residents from Sumner and Taylors Mistake headed for the hills after the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, many people sat in their cars for hours overnight.   

Some people had collected elderly neighbours and those with physical impairment in their cars too, taking them up the hill while they waited for the all clear.

When hill residents heard about this, many said they would have opened their homes as a safe and warm place to stay.

The host idea was then introduced, ready for the next emergency evacuation.

Said Sparrow: “This complements our local philosophy of looking after one another – not only during a natural disaster but 24/7.”

Sumner Residents’ Association deputy chairwoman Liza Sparrow. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Sumner Residents’ Association deputy chairwoman Liza Sparrow. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Sumner valley is classed as a red and orange evacuation zone, meaning if an earthquake occurs and it is long or strong, people must leave the area immediately.

If there are sudden sea-level changes or unusual noises coming from the sea, or if an official warning from Civil Defence emergency management is sent out, people must also immediately evacuate.

The red zone, along Sumner’s beach front indicates it is most likely to be affected by a tsunami.

The valley floor of Sumner is an orange zone, and although it is less likely to be affected by a tsunami, it is included in the immediate evacuation plan.

Sparrow is hoping to run a community engagement education programme for this idea but the association needs funding.

Find out which tsunami evacuation zone you are in here.



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