International ShakeOut Day

Undoubtedly our courageous members from the Canterbury region could teach us more than a thing or two about earthquakes. For the rest of us there is a very important day looming organised, in our part of the world, by New Zealand’s Civil Defence. Thursday 15 October is the International ShakeOut Day of Action. New Zealand, who has close to a million registered participants already, will be the first country to participate this year, at 9:15am. At that precise time participants will follow that will known drill of the Drop, Cover, and Hold drill for 30-45 seconds: As in DROP down on your hands and knees, COVER your head and neck and HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops.

Instructions are also available for people with disabilities or special requirements on the Civil Defence website www.shakeout.govt.nz They state “ in a major earthquake the ground-shaking will make it difficult or impossible for you to move any distance. If you cannot safely get under a table, move near an inside wall of the building away from windows and tall items that can fall on you. Cover your head and neck as best you can. Lock your wheels if you are in a wheelchair. In bed, pull the sheets and blankets over you and use your pillow to protect your head and neck.” They also recommend building a personal support network by organising a support group, comprising a minimum of three people to alert you to civil defence warnings, or to help if you need to be evacuated. This could be family members, carers, friends, neighbours or co-workers. Other recommendations involve ensuring you have an emergency plan before a disaster happens and practice it with your support network, planning for various disasters and situations you could encounter and discussing your needs with the support network and making sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment and informing your support team if you are travelling or away from home.

In addition they also recommend ensuring you have emergency survival items, including any specialised items you need, and a getaway kit in case of evacuation, keeping at least seven days’ supply of your essential medications and make provisions for those that require refrigeration, wearing a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability or health condition and when travelling, letting a hotel or motel manager know of your requirements in case of an emergency and knowing where to go for assistance if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment. Obviously we don’t want to think of such disastrous events but we do need to prepare ourselves in case it happens. The shake out website has all your need to know instructions.

Ross Flood