The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is urging Kiwis to prepare for an emergency while they’re on their summer break.
NEMA director John Price told 1News while “every time’s a good time for thinking about emergencies”, summer provides the perfect opportunity to “slow things down a little bit and have time to think”.
“It’s also that new year’s time when people can make resolutions about how can they keep themselves and their whānau safe from an emergency when it does occur,” he said.
Last summer, the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle struck the North Island. The country also experienced droughts.
“This summer, we’re seeing thunderstorms and heavy rain in some areas, but also the risk of very hot and dry conditions because of El Niño,” he said.
“So we need to be ready for anything.”
Price said people also need to consider emergency supplies when they’re away from home during the summer holidays.
He advised people to pack a bag with essentials to keep in the car in case you get stranded on the road, and jumping on the Get Ready website to check if you’re living or holidaying in a tsunami evacuation zone.
NEMA research from July 2023 revealed 25% of Kiwis didn’t know to evacuate by moving to higher ground or as far inland as possible if they feel a long or strong quake – an increase from 13% in 2022.
“We prep a lot around where we’re gonna go, where the sun’s going to be, where the best beaches are going to be – put a little extra time into prepping yourself to keep yourself safe.”
Price said it’s important the public understands they cannot rely on being able to get immediate help from emergency services when a disaster strikes as authorities may be dealing with urgent issues, including people who are injured.
It’s advised people store enough emergency supplies for at least three days.
In the wider Wellington region, there’s also a risk of a serious water shortage this summer.
Modelling by Wellington Water last month showed a 33% chance of tighter water restrictions and possible water shortages.
The Wellington Regional Emergency Management office is recommending each household member has at least 20 litres of water stored per day for a week, or 140 litres in total.