As far as civil defence goes, we have always maintained a high level of preparedness, our bright yellow plastic water containers shine out from under out pods. recently however, the devastating earthquake in Christchurch has made us re-evaluate our own readiness for a natural disaster.
Previously we had enough food and water for each person for 3 days, packed into lidded buckets that could be used for containing water or becoming toilets. These buckets were placed into our cvil defense cabinet along with cooker, pot, fuel, and a water purifier. As the company has grown we were overdue for a re-stock. And since the February 22nd quake we have had a re-think what is needed and how best to prepare.
We had simply followed the NZ civil defence guidelines to have enough food and supplies to last three days. It has now become clear to us that if we were hit with a earthquake on the scale of the Canterbury ones it would be unlikely that we would all be trapped in an intact office bidding time for 3 days – although if might be possible if we were struck by a tsunami or floods.
Our preparedness objectives are no longer to simply survive in one place. Our priorities are now:
- Ensuring everyone in the office is as safe as possible at the time of an earthquake
- Accessibility to first aid equipment
- Movement through rubble and broken glass
- Survival if trapped
- Escape from the building if normal exits are blocked
- Getting back home to family members
We realised that there were a few things missing in our kits. and added the following:
- Gardening gloves for moving objects covered in broken glass
- Overalls, face masks and gumboots to deal with rubble
- Backpacks ($5 at the warehouse) to get back home on foot
- Smaller, portable bottles of water
- A really great first aid kit
- Abseiling gear with a 50 metre rope to descend from the 8th floor to the ground
We have stocked up on even more water, several water containers in our civil defence cabinet and a further 15 litres under each pod. Coats that were destined for a charity shop have been stocked away we now have two transistor radios, one of which can be powered by a hand crank. Our latest additions are whistles, and I’m sure we’ll be continuously adding and upgrading as we think of new items.
After having a look at current earthquakes and the weeks after we have had an opportunity to understand better some things we can do now to make things easier for the future. If the big one does hit Wellington there will be huge variables that we have not accounted for. But we are in a better position now than we were a week ago.