The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton, said it is not like a fire. You do not have to evacuate a building straight away unless it is showing obvious signs of distress.
When you eventually evacuate, do take your wallet, coat, bag, etc. You are more vulnerable if you leave those things behind. If you have a getaway kit or “go bag”, take it.
Have a plan before you need it. Tell others what you plan to do. An evacuation assembly area in case of fire might not be appropriate after an earthquake. Large open areas with no tall buildings, power lines or other hazards immediately adjacent are best. It is often better to remain in your building until a safe route has been found.
“Seeing thousands of people gathered outside high rise buildings after the 2013 Wellington quake was extremely worrying,” the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton said.
“Glass and masonry falling into streets cause terrible casualties. A major after-shock could have been tragic for those standing in the street.
“What we saw was that many people knew to Drop, Cover and Hold during the earthquake but most did not know what to do afterwards.”
The Ministry suggests workplaces develop a plan for what to do immediately after a major earthquake, assuming serious damage. In the case of smaller, more common, earthquakes such a plan can be scaled back.
The plan needs to focus on what staff should do and include all of:
Business continuity planning, which protects the business ability to keep trading or to recover, is also important but should be kept separate from the immediate response plan to avoid confusion.