How to Prepare for an Earthquake

“I want to stress to Wellingtonians that we need to be prepared”Justin Lester, Mayor

We NEED to be prepared. Many buildings in Wellington CBD have been cordoned off for safety, and more buildings are being recognised as a risk every day. Bad weather keeps bringing surface flooding to us, followed by our major flooding. Now you know the areas that are likely to be hit worst by flooding, be cautious and plan in advance when heavy rain starts. Avoid driving through moving water as you can be swept away.


Everyone in Wellington needs to know that the likelihood of another big earthquake is quite high, whether that be in the coming weeks or months, or if not, then maybe years. You NEED to make sure that you and your household are equipped to manage if a bigger earthquake hits. How? Sort out your emergency pack and getaway kit (details below) and plan your escape routes now if a tsunami occurs. If there is a big earthquake, don’t wait for a warning if you live by the coast or in certain zones (see links at the end). Just get to high ground immediately. Make a plan with your family members on what you will do, where you would meet depending on where you are in Wellington if an earthquake hits. Do not sleep too close to windows, or mirrors, or objects that can fall on you. Secure objects around your house, buy more secure shelving if you need to.

PLEASE purchase a radio if you have not. They may seem very old school but are very useful – if the phone networks go down, you won’t be able to use your phone to check Facebook!


-Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
-Radio with spare batteries
-Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
-First aid kit and essential medicines
-Blankets or sleeping bags
-Pet supplies
-Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
-Face and dust masks
Check all batteries every three months. Battery powered lighting is the safest and easiest. Do not use candles as they can tip over in earthquake aftershocks or in a gust of wind. Do not use kerosene lamps, which require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.
Food and water for at least three days
-Non-perishable food (canned or dried food)
-Food, formula and drinks for babies and small children
-Water for drinking. At least 3 litres per person, per day
-Water for washing and cooking
-A primus or gas barbeque to cook on
-A can opener
Check and replace food and water every twelve months. Consider stocking a two-week supply of food and water for prolonged emergencies such as a pandemic.

In some emergencies you may need to evacuate in a hurry. Everyone should have a packed getaway kit in an easily accessible place at home and at work which includes:
-Torch and radio with spare batteries
-Any special needs such as hearing aids and spare batteries, glasses or mobility aids
-Emergency water and easy-to-carry food rations such as energy bars and dried foods in case there are delays in reaching a welfare centre or a place where you might find support. If you have any special dietary requirements, ensure you have extra supplies
-First aid kit and essential medicines
-Essential items for infants or young children such as formula and food, nappies and a favourite toy
-Change of clothes (wind/waterproof clothing and strong outdoor shoes)
-Toiletries – towel, soap, toothbrush, sanitary items, toilet paper
-Blankets or sleeping bags
-Face and dust masks
-Pet supplies

Include important documents in your getaway kit: identification (birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licences and passports), financial documents (e.g. insurance policies and mortgage information), and precious family photos.

Please get your packs ready as soon as you can and make plans with your family as there is no way of telling how soon a big earthquake could hit. If you have neighbours or people you know who would not be able to get help in a major earthquake or flooding, please go and see them now, talk to them and make sure that they have what they need, and plan with them what they would need to do in an earthquake.

Wellington, no matter what happens we will always be an amazing community who will support each other no matter what. Now is the time to get ready, and get through. Please print a copy of this information and share it around.

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