Get summer ready – because emergencies don’t take a holiday

This summer, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is reminding Kiwis to add some simple steps to their summer to-do list to make sure they’re prepared for any emergencies that may happen over the holiday break.

NEMA’s Director of Emergency Management John Price says it’s important to remember that emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, even while we’re on holiday.  

“We plan for our holidays so let’s plan for our safety. The good news is that getting ready for emergencies can be as easy as packing for a picnic.

“We can’t always predict these emergencies, which is why it’s important to get prepared ahead of time. Last summer, we saw drought affecting parts of the country - after our wettest winter on record. This was followed by the devastating impacts of the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

 “This summer, experts are predicting much of the country will experience very hot and dry conditions because of El Niño. This is likely to bring increased fire danger, heatwaves and a heightened risk of drought,” says Mr Price. “It’s really important to adhere to all fire and water restrictions, wherever you’re spending your holiday.

“A warm hot summer means more of us will be heading to the beach to cool down. Whenever we’re near the coast, as well as being sun smart and water smart, we need to be tsunami smart.  

“NEMA’s recent research showed that our knowledge of what to do in a tsunami has fallen. This is a big worry, because in a locally generated tsunami, the first waves could arrive in minutes. So, immediate evacuation is key to the survival of you and your whānau. This is why it’s so important to know and remember Long or Strong, Get Gone.

“If you are near the coast, if you feel an earthquake that is long - longer than a minute, or strong – it’s hard to stand up, get gone – don’t wait for an official warning. 

“Move immediately to high ground or as far inland as possible. You can check NEMA’s national tsunami evacuation map to find out if you live, work, play or holiday in a tsunami zone.  

“It’s also important to know how you can stay informed during an emergency – especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. Find local radio frequencies, know where you can get local Civil Defence information, and remember that some places won’t have mobile coverage.   

“One of the best ways to get yourself and your loved ones prepared for an emergency is to have a prep talk – discuss what might happen and what you will do so that everyone in your household knows the plan,” says Mr Price.

Get summer ready at 

To give you a hand, here’s five tips to get summer ready:

  • Stay informed - follow the local Civil Defence group on Facebook, keep up to date with MetService and NZTA, and tune into local radio stations.
  • Pack your car with everything you need – food, water, medication, warm blankets -  in case you get stranded on the highway.
  • Know your zone – check out your tsunami evacuation route at
  • Store enough emergency water for everyone in your whānau
  • Pack emergency grab bags for everyone in your family.

Published: Dec 22, 2023, 9:17 AM