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What’s the Plan Stan?

What’s the Plan Stan seeks to improve awareness and understanding of the hazards we face in New Zealand. It also promotes emergency preparedness in primary and intermediate schools by providing teachers and students with the knowledge and skills to act in a safe manner when a disaster occurs. Students’ increased awareness and understanding may also prompt their parents, families and communities to be better prepared.

What’s the Plan Stan is aimed at:

  • teachers, providing a range of resources to enable them to incorporate disaster awareness and preparedness into teaching and learning approaches
  • school management, assisting with the school’s civil defence emergency management planning processes
  • students and their families, providing relevant information in a format that is interesting, easy to understand and accessible on a dedicated website.
A resource for schools
The resource has a number of components, each of which can be used independently or in conjunction with each other. These include:
  • A guide for teachers, including unit plans and activities
  • A CD–Rom for teachers and students, including stories, interactive games, research material, tips for teachers and resources that can be cut and pasted into unit plans. The CD-Rom can also be run off the school intranet.
  • a website -
The guide includes:
  • unit plans, activities and ideas to increase students’ confidence in emergency planning and practice
  • fact sheets about different types of disasters
  • simulation and practice activities that involve the school and community agencies
  • information about the roles of principals, Boards of Trustees and the community agencies
  • templates for the activities and suggested resources including books and websites.
Teachers are encouraged to modify and adapt the unit plans and activities to suit the needs of their students. Ideally a school approach is recommended as this is an effective way to share planning and resources (while all focusing on the same topic), to involve the wider school community and outside agencies, and to learn from each other.

The Website and CD-Rom includes
1. Useful resources for teachers, including:
  • Word and PDF files of the WTPS? Teachers’ Guide, unit plans and all the templates, for printing and adapting
  • links to websites and organisations
  • ideas for using the Website and CD-Rom with students.

2. Fun activities, information and interactive stories for students, including:
  • details of earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, floods, storms and non-natural disasters and what to do in these events
  • map of disasters and events in every region of New Zealand
  • interactive stories and quiz games
  • information on selected historic disasters
  • photographs and video clips

2012 “What’s The Plan Stan?” survey of New Zealand primary schools
In 2012 Department of Internal Affairs' Research and Evaluation Services team surveyed schools to assess how many teachers and schools were using “What’s the Plan Stan?”, their satisfaction with the resource, and their engagement with CDEM Groups.

In summary, the findings of the survey are that more than three-quarters of teachers were aware of the resource, 70 per cent rated it as useful or very useful, and less than one-third had used it for teaching.

Teachers’ engagement with the resource varies between regions. Typically, where schools are more engaged with CDEM staff from their local council or Group, they are more likely to be aware of and use the resource.

Report highlights lessons for US and New Zealand
During 2011, Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellow, Victoria Johnson, spent seven months studying New Zealand schools’ disaster preparedness programme What’s the Plan Stan? She concluded that there are lessons for both the United Sates and New Zealand from the way Kiwi primary and intermediate school children are taught how to prepare for disasters.

The report has been published by Fulbright New Zealand and is available from their website: Disaster Preparedness Education in Schools: Recommendations for New Zealand and the United States

In July 2008 Kia Takatū, a Te Reo version of the resource was developed and sent to over 300 Maori immersion and bilingual schools. Kia Takatū materials include:
  • Kia Takatū resource book with material and templates for teachers, students and their parents/whanau, and five stories about disasters and what to do.
  • Kia Takatū CD-Rom containing a PDF file of the Kia Takatū resource book which can be printed to produce more copies.
  • Audio CD with stories in Te Reo Maori which includes stories from a Māori-world view of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, floods and storms. Each story concludes with information on what to do before, during and after a disaster.
Please note that we have additional copies of the resource available for schools in your area should you require them. Contact

Revised edition 2009
The resource has been revised to align with the new NZ Curriculum which takes effect in 2010. The new resource was sent out to all primary and intermediate schools in early August 2009.
The 2009 revised edition of What’s the Plan Stan?:
  • is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum
  • incorporates an inquiry approach model
  • includes up-to-date disaster information
  • includes a wider range of practice scenarios
  • reflects current best practice of what to do before, during and after a disaster.

For the CDEM sector
The release of the revised 2009 edition provides an invaluable opportunity to undertake a series of activities at a national, regional and local level to ensure the end users are aware of the new resource arriving in schools. MCDEM has developed a communications strategy with input from the CDEM sector to help us to: 
  • Maximise opportunities to raise awareness of the resource at the time of the launch in August 2009 when all schools will receive their new resource
  • Ensure that strategies are put in place both nationally and by CDEM Groups to encourage and support the ongoing use of the resource in all schools
WTPS is primarily a CDEM teaching resource for primary and intermediate teachers. But it is also a resource for students aged 7 - 12 with information written specifically for that age group and is presented in a way that is interesting and user-friendly. It seeks to get the preparedness messages into homes though kids at school. There are homework activities for children to work with their families to have a plan and essential survival items and a website that they can access at any time.The third aspect is that it includes resources for school management staff and boards of trustees to improve their emergency planning. This is an area where schools will need the support of the local emergency management staff.

The following are suggested activities you can undertake to engage with your primary and intermediate schools. All schools will be receiving the new resource in the first two weeks in August. If you have advised us that you want to personally deliver the resource to your schools you will receive the bulk copies by end July. Some of these should ideally be undertaken in August or as soon after as possible. Or you could focus on engaging with schools and your community during Disaster Awareness Week in October.

Suggested activities
  • The resource will be sent with a cover letter from the MCDEM Director outlining the purpose of the resource and encouraging schools to utilise the resource. We recommend you send a letter or email to all schools in your district/city to reinforce the national mailout. A personalised follow up letter or email from you either before or after the resource reaches schools is a great opportunity to engage directly with your schools. You may wish to offer any of the suggested services listed below, depending on your budget and/or staff availability.
  • Teacher support: Please do not hesitate to contact our District Council Office to speak to your local Emergency Management Officer/ Civil Defence Officer (or other appropriate title for your district/city) regarding any Civil Defence matters or inquiries you may have about information in the resource. Note: We request that any inquiries come directly from teachers as unfortunately, we are not able to field a large number of inquiries from students to complete projects.
  • Your local Civil Defence Officer would be happy to attend a staff meeting to discuss local Civil Defence matters such as hazards specific to your location, warning systems, location of welfare centres etc.
  • Your local Civil Defence Officer would be happy to attend a meeting with the school principal and/or Board of Trustees to further explain response procedures in case of an emergency and how your school premises may be utilized to support the community in need as well as discuss your schools’ emergency policy.
  • Your local CDO will be happy to provide advice/information should you decide to conduct a Civil Defence exercise with your students (e,g, attend a planning meeting).
  • Due to the number of school in our city/district it is not possible to offer a visit to a classroom, however we would be most happy to present a 10 minute informative talk to your students on Civil Defence matters at an assembly.
  • A double-sided one page flyer is available on the website that summarises what the resource is all about and how to use it etc. You could attach the flyer in your correspondence.
  • Articles in your local newspapers/newsletters are always helpful to promote any new resource. Some teachers may not have seen or heard about the arrival of the new resource and this kind of promotion will make them ask questions at school on the whereabouts of this new resource. Also an opportunity to promote your district/city website for the public to visit.
  • Advertising opportunities. MCDEM has advertised nationally in the Starters and Strategies schools publication and will have an ad in the August Education Gazette. You could try and negotiate affordable rates with your local publications. Advertisement templates are offerd on the WTPS toolkit page on the MCDEM website under public education.
  • The distribution of this resource in August in your school community provides an opportunity to get together with representatives from other services such as NZ Fire service Police, Red Cross, StJohn to discuss working together on the promotion of this resource. (If you have not already established a committee to discuss Disaster Awareness Week in October, the launch of this resource may be worthwhile considering and discussing a few promotion opportunities to recognize both events).
  • Teachers AND students love competitions. But keep it simple! A simple drawing to colour in always works. Display entries in your office foyer. Prizes could be emergency supplies (or also very popular is money for library books) for the winning schools Poster design competitions too are popular. Provide a theme ( e.g. “Why everyone needs a torch beside their bed” or “correct EQ safe position under the school desk and why”) for teachers to encourage their students to think about what to do.
  • Invite teachers and kids to come to the Emergency Management Office on a field trip. The volume of visits could be managed through a schedule to suit the Emergency Management Office, and you can do this by providing a range of days and times for schools to make a booking. The benefit of this is you've got their attention on your turf and WTPS can be launched to a captive audience. Kids like to see how equipment works, check out civil defence gear, etc so a tour of the facility will probably appeal as a reward for listening.

View the WTPS launch communications strategy

View resources for EMOs on the WTPS Toolkit page

Mailout list for CDEM information
The list shows the schools in your area and the number of copies that will be sent to each school. Please use the list to follow up with each of your schools as suggested in the above launch strategy.
What's The Plan Stan? 09 mailout list (xls)
Cut down print friendly version of list (xls)

Direct delivery by EMOs
The following councils have advised that they will be delivering the resource personally to their schools in the first two weeks in August. This is a significant undertaking by the councils and the Ministry acknowledges their support and commitment to engaging with schools.
  • Waikato Valley - Hamilton City/Waipa/Otorohanga/Waitomo
  • Thames Coromandel
  • Rodney
  • Rotorua
  • Kawerau
  • Wanganui
  • Tararua
  • Lower Hutt City
  • Ruapehu
  • Palmerston North City
  • Waitaki
  • Invercargill City
  • Buller
  • Grey
  • Westland
  • Selwyn
  • MacKenzie