At 9.26am on Wednesday 26 September we aim to have one million participants in the New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill, the first ShakeOut drill held nationwide in any country!
Participants at home, work and school will practice "Drop, Cover and Hold" - the right action to take in an earthquake.
Earthquakes in the Wellington region
The Wellington region is tectonically active and criss-crossed by many faultlines. While we often feel small earthquakes that don't cause much damage, many of the active faults in the region are actually capable of producing large earthquakes.
In 1855, the Wairarapa Fault ruptured causing a magnitude 8 (on the richter scale) earthquake. About 5000 km 2 of land was shifted vertically, with uplift of 6 metres near Turakirae Head and 1-2 metres in the Wellington harbour. The main quake shook for 50 seconds and was followed by hundreds of aftershocks greater than magnitude 5 in the following few weeks.
A large, shallow earthquake along the Wellington fault, say magnitude 7.4, would cause strong shaking and considerable damage around the region. If it happened during the day there could be about 500 deaths, 4,000 injuries and perhaps 1,800 people trapped.
If the earthquake hit at night, fewer people would be hurt. We could expect over 100,000 buildings to be damaged in some way. It could cost $4 billion to repair and rebuild Wellington and the surrounding areas.
Prepare yourself at home, work and school
There are things that you can do to prepare yourself for an earthquake at home, work and school. Check out the before, during and after sections on this website to see what you can do to make a difference!
Before an earthquake
- store emergency water
- have an emergency survival kit
- have a household emergency plan
- identify safe places to shelter at home, work or school (eg. under a sturdy table or next to an interior wall. The safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris)
- check your household insurance for cover and amount
- seek building advice to ensure your home is secured to its foundations and any renovations comonly with the New Zealand building code
- check that your chimney and hot water tank are secured
- learn how to remove the water from your hot water cylinder and other alternative water sources
- keep important documents in a sturdy, watertight container
- secure bookshelves and heavy furniture to the wall or floor
- secure electrical appliances and equipment in place with Velcro
- secure ceiling panels and hanging items such as mirrors and pictures
- lower shelving to door height and place all heavy items close to the floor
- make sure shelf lips are high enough to prevent objects from being dislodged
- fix strong catches to cupboards, especially in the kitchen
- make sure escape routes are unblocked at all times
- remove cleaners from toilet cisterns (a potential source of drinking water)
- check that your chimney and hot water cylinder are secure.
During an earthquake
- if you are inside at home - stay there!
- move no more than a few steps to a safe place, drop, cover, and hold
- do not attempt to run outside
- if you are outside, move no more than a few steps to a safe place (eg. move to a doorway, away from buildings, powerlines and other potential hazards), drop, cover, and hold
- if in a lift, stop at the nearest floor and get out
- if you are driving, pull over to the side of the road. Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stopsif you are near the coast, drop, cover and hold during an earthquake. Then move immediately to higher ground when the shaking stops.
After an earthquake
- expect aftershocks and help those around you if you can
- report injuries or fires to the emergency services (dial 111)
- put out small fires. Evacuate the building if the fires cannot be controlled
- if you smell gas, turn off the outside main gas valve and report it from a neighbours home. Remeber to wait for professional advice before reconnecting the gas supply.
- if you see sparks or broken wires or suspect electrical system damage, turn off the electricity a the main fuse box
- listen to your radio for advice and information
- if your property is damaged, take notes and/or photos for the loss adjustor
- do not go sightseeing and stay out of damaged buildings.