Readiness: Get prepared to respond to an emergency
This page provides messages about readiness.
Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere – and the best thing you can do is make sure you are prepared. Learn as much as you can about what might happen, what you’ll do when it does and what you need on hand to make sure you, your whānau/family and your community get through.
Learning about the hazards that can occur in your community, and the impacts they can cause, will help you work out what steps you can take to get prepared.
Find out from your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group which hazards can affect you. Ask:
- Are my most-visited places in a hazard zone? This includes my whare/home, wāhi mahi / workplace, community/cultural meeting place (e.g. kura/school, marae, place of worship, sports and recreation grounds) or anywhere I spend a lot of time.
- What hazards could impact my community?
Learn about the hazards you may be at risk from and how they could impact you and your whānau/family:
It's important to know the different ways you can stay informed during an emergency – which radio stations to listen to, which websites and social media to follow, the importance of getting to know your neighbours, and checking if you can receive Emergency Mobile Alerts.
Plan for how you will stay informed if the power goes out – such as ensuring you have a battery or solar powered radio, USB chargers and/or portable charging devices or a plan to share information with your neighbours.
If the power goes out, a solar or battery powered radio (or your car radio) can help you keep up to date with the latest news.
The following radio networks work collaboratively with civil defence emergency management authorities to broadcast important information and advice in an emergency:
- Radio New Zealand (AM and FM frequencies)
- MoreFM (FM frequencies)
- NewstalkZB (AM and FM frequencies)
- Today FM (AM and FM frequencies)
- The Hits (FM frequencies)
Check with your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to find out what local stations they recommend you should listen to during an emergency.
Most emergencies are managed at the local level. For local emergency updates, check your council’s website, as well as your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s website and social media.
The National Emergency Management Agency is responsible for issuing national emergency updates and tsunami warnings. Tsunami warnings and information will be published on the National Emergency Management Agency’s website and the @nzcivildefence Twitter channel.
Severe Weather Outlooks, Watches and Warnings are issued by MetService, Te Ratonga Tirorangi, New Zealand’s National Weather Service. Stay up to date with the latest weather information through the MetService website and mobile App.
Your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group may also use apps such as the Red Cross Hazards App to share emergency updates and warnings.
Know your neighbours
In an emergency, you’ll want to look out for your neighbours – and they’ll want to look out for you. Getting to know them before an emergency means you’ll know how to check in with each other, and how you can work together to look after your community.
- Share contact details so you can get in touch if an emergency occurs.
- Tell them about your emergency plan and ask about their plans.
- Find out who can help you and who might need your help.
- Join or form a Neighbourhood Support Group. Neighbourhood Support Groups bring local people together to create safe, supportive, and connected communities. Join today at neighbourhoodsupport.co.nz
Emergency Mobile Alert
Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones. They are designed to keep people safe.
The alerts can be targeted to areas affected by serious hazards. They will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health, or property, and, in some cases, for test purposes.
To get Emergency Mobile Alerts, you need a phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. The phone also needs to have cell reception and up-to-date software. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service.
Emergencies can disrupt our lives, damage property and cause serious harm. Making a plan will help you get ready, and talking about your plan with your whānau/family, workmates, marae and community will make sure everyone’s prepared.
More information is available on the make emergency plans page.
In an emergency, Civil Defence Emergency Management and other emergency services will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could be stuck at home without basic services, such as electricity, gas, drinking water, flushing toilets, and phones, for days or even weeks.
Think about what you will need in an emergency:
- Do you have enough food and water for your household?
- How will you cook and store food without electricity?
- Do you have enough water for everyone in your household? Does this include water to cook and wash with?
- What about family members who need medication? Do you have enough?
- Do you have a baby who may need extra supplies (e.g. nappies, formula)?
- Do you have enough food and water for your pets?
More information is available on the have emergency supplies page.
Babies are more at risk of becoming dehydrated or getting an infection, so they need special care and attention in an emergency.
In an emergency, roads and shops may be closed for three days or more, so you need to have supplies to get your baby through. This list of emergency supplies will be enough for a minimum of three days. It will help you look after your baby when you do not have water or power. If you can, you should prepare supplies for a week or more.
- Disposable nappies.
- Baby wipes.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Rubbish bags for dirty nappies.
- Any medicines or creams your baby needs.
- Disposable gloves.
- Spare clothes
- A blanket or special toy.
Make sure you also have these supplies for your baby in your grab bag, in case you need to leave home in a hurry.
If your baby often stays with whānau/family or carers, think about having some emergency supplies for your baby at their place as well as at home.
Advice about feeding your baby safely during an emergency is available on the Ministry of Health website.
You can involve young children in planning for an emergency by giving them small tasks to do. For example, check the date on your stored water or test the torch is working.
Talk to them in an honest, but not scary, way about what might happen in an emergency, what you can do to keep safe, and what your plan is if you can’t get home. Ask at their day care, kindergarten, kura or school to find out what they teach children to do, and how to reinforce these messages at home.
Practise emergency activities like “drop, cover, hold”, or “get down, get low, get out”. The more involved they are, the less scared they will be when an emergency does happen.
Make sure you have supplies for young children in a grab bag in case you have to leave home in a hurry. The grab bag should have warm clothing, water and snack food, and a favourite toy or game to keep them occupied.
If you or someone in your whānau/family has special requirements or is disabled, you will need to include their needs in your plan for emergencies. People with mobility, hearing and visual impairments, and intellectual disabilities will need additional support, and it’s important to take time to plan and prepare.
More information is available on the disabled people and people with special requirements page.
Your animals are your responsibility. You need to include them in your emergency planning and preparation. Failing to plan for them in case of hazards (such as an earthquake or flood) puts their lives at risk.
Include essential supplies for your pets in your grab bag and emergency supplies.
Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets (or just your pets) if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.
Make sure you have a pet crate or cage for your animal(s) to be transported or held in while accommodation is being sought.
If you have livestock in your care you will have to take different precautions to ensure their safety. MPI provides a checklist to help you prepare an emergency plan specifically for livestock and horses. Advice about preparing a plan for your pets and other animals is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.