This section provides some examples and templates which you can customise as needed for media releases or interviews, articles in council or community publications and online, presentations to groups, etc.

There is likely to be a high demand for authoritative and timely information during an event. CDEM Groups are encouraged to develop a range of media release templates for various scenarios.

Standard detailed messaging on a range of hazards and advice on what people should do is available in the “Working from the same page: Consistent messages for CDEM” publication.

A word version of the information that is in the Get Ready brochure is also available.

Get Ready Get Thru brochure (.doc 450kb)

Before an event

  • The risks to us here in [your region] are [your hazardscape].
  • Everyone should have a household emergency plan where you have worked out what you will do in various scenarios, safe places to shelter at home, where you will meet, who’ll pick up the kids etc
  • Download the Household Emergency Checklist and Plan from www.getthru.govt.nz.
  • Ensure you have the essential emergency items at home to be able to look after yourselves for three days or more.
  • A little time spent getting ready now can greatly reduce the impact of the disaster when it happens.

Immediately after an event

The [recent event] is a timely reminder of the [hazard and its impact] for the [location].

If you haven’t already taken steps to be better prepared we strongly encourage you to make sure you have a household emergency plan and the essential emergency items to be able to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more.

Addressing complacency ‑ get ready now so you can get through

Civil Defence is urging New Zealanders to make a start now to be better prepared. Events around the world, and here in New Zealand in recent years have certainly raised awareness of the impact that disasters can have, and the need to take action to look after ourselves, and our families. [include recent examples]

But it would seem that even though awareness may be high, many New Zealanders have not planned for how they will cope in a disaster event, or taken steps to looks after themselves and their families.

See the Research and Evaluation section for most recent preparedness statistics.


How to get ready

Make a start with two simple steps

Civil defence urges everyone to make a start by having a Household Emergency Plan, and ensuring you have the essential emergency survival items to cope for up to three days or more.

Step 1 – Have a Household Emergency Plan

A critical first step is to have a Household Emergency Plan. Why is this important? There are many types of disasters that could damage roads and disrupt your ability to travel. Essential services like phones and power are likely to be affected. Sitting down with your family and discussing the hazards that can affect you and what you will each do can safe lives, and greatly reduce the anxiety and stress when disasters happen. For instance, if the earthquake, tsunami, storm or flood event happened during the day when mum and dad are at work, and the kids at school, or out shopping or on the way home, does everyone know what to do. Head home, stay put, meet at an agreed point? The Household Emergency Plan provides a basis for families to discuss the various scenarios and work out a plan for what each person will do.

Step 2 - Ensure you have emergency survival items to cope for 3 days or more

In the event of a major disaster caused by an earthquake, storm or flood, or volcanic eruption, the reality is that help cannot get to everyone as quickly as they may need it. It is in the immediate aftermath of a disaster that individuals and families will be most vulnerable. Likely scenarios include disruption of essential services like power, water supply, telecommunications and transport. Communities could become isolated as a result of damaged roads and bridges etc.

That is why it is so important for individuals and families to make sure you have the essential emergency items to cope on your own till help can get to you. Many of the items that are on the list are likely to be items you already have at home – torches, radio, batteries, food and water, alternative cooking such as a barbeque. You don’t have to have them packed away in a bag untouched, as long as you check that you do have the essential items, and can find them easily (and in the dark maybe) during a disaster. A list of the items can be downloaded from the getthru.govt.nz website.

Other important items include a first aid kit, or any special medications. If you have to plan for babies and small children, you’ll have to ensure you have sufficient food and formula for them. Also if you have pets, they need to be included in your planning. And if you need to evacuate or leave your home in a hurry, you will have to plan to have a Getaway Kit that has essential items and important documents etc.

There is information available on the www.getthru.govt.nz website and from local councils on what you need to do to get ready. Take that first step now to be ready so that you can be better prepared to look after yourselves and your loved ones.


In a disaster, household water supplies, including drinking water, could be affected. Having a supply of water for yourself and members of your family is absolutely essential. Planning now to ensure you have sufficient water to get through the first few days can greatly reduce the impact of the disaster, and help you get through.

Civil defence advice is for everyone to plan to have at least 3 litres of drinking water for each person each day for 3 days. You also need to think about water for cooking, cleaning and washing up. The advice is to have at least one litre of water for each of the following:

  • washing food and cooking for each meal
  • washing dishes after a meal
  • washing yourself (one litre per day for each person).

Your hot water cylinder and toilet cistern are valuable sources of water. Check that your hot water cylinder and header tank are well secured and try to avoid putting chemical cleaners in the cistern. Also, keep on hand a supply of household bleach, for disinfecting.

How to store drinking water

  • To store enough drinking water for three days, prepare six large, plastic soft drink bottles of water for each person, including children. Add some extra for pets
  • Wash bottles thoroughly in hot water
  • Fill each bottle with tap water until it overflows. Add five drops of household bleach per litre of water and put in storage. Do not drink for at least 30 minutes after disinfecting
  • Do not use bleaches that contain added scent or perfume, surfactants or other additives - they can make people sick.
  • Label each bottle with dates showing when the bottles were filled and when they need to be refilled
  • Check the bottles every 12 months. If the water is not clear, throw it out and refill clean bottles with clean water and bleach
  • Store bottles in two separate places, somewhere dark away from direct sunlight where there is not likely to be flooding
  • Alternatively, fill plastic ice cream containers with water, cover, label and keep in the freezer. These can help keep food cool if the power is off and can also be used for drinking
  • Keep a supply of ice cubes and fruit juices

Handy hints

Collect rain water but make sure that you disinfect it with household bleach (1/2 teaspoon to 10 litres).

If you’re at all uncertain as to the quality of water, e.g. from a well that has been flooded, or if it might have been contaminated by smoke or ash DO NOT drink it.

Caring for pets

Pets are an important member of the household for many families. In a disaster they will also be affected. How well your pets cope with a disaster event such as a flood, volcanic eruption or destructive earthquake depends on the actions you take now to plan for them.

Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets.

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbours, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

See http://www.getthru.govt.nz/how-to-get-ready/pets-and-livestock/ for more information.