News Release

A Kit in Time

Recent earthquakes and floods around New Zealand emphasise the need for being prepared. Some events will be out of the blue, like the Canterbury Earthquake. Others, like flooding, may allow for some warning. Being prepared will pay dividends in any emergency.

The Government will not be able to fully sustain the majority of people during the first hours or days of an emergency. This is not a criticism; it simply takes time to stage relief efforts. We can and should be prepared to sustain our own family when an emergency happens. We don't know when the disaster might occur. "If it's going to be, it's up to me" is the attitude we need to ensure we are safe, healthy and intact during a natural disaster or other emergency.

You may be pretty sure where you keep things in your house but in an emergency, in the dark, in a shaking or flooding house those torches, matches, candles, shoes, jackets might be harder to locate. Even if your actual house is fine, your cupboards and drawers may have opened and spilled their contents or furniture may have moved or collapsed. Doorways could also be blocked, making getting about and finding things very difficult.

A couple from Christchurch shared their experience from the earthquake. The fact that they had survival kits ready meant they were able to concentrate on comforting their children rather than scrambling to find important items. Having a torch in their bedside cabinets also helped as they had lost electricity and had to navigate their home without lights.

In an emergency you could be asked to leave your house by authorities and be evacuated to a welfare centre. Time will be of the essence and if you aren't prepared, you can easily find you and your family are without important items you need.

Being prepared for any disaster is important. By planning ahead and organising a bag of essential items, you can rest easy knowing you've taken a step in the right direction. 72 hour kits will help with whatever emergency that may arise, not just for when you need to leave the house. Your kit is really a central depository of the things you may need during an emergency or if you need to leave your home in a hurry. A list of suggested items for a 72 hour kit follows. You should thoughtfully consider the particular needs of your family when preparing your kits.

Check your 72 hour kit every six months – checking on batteries, food, and medications in case they have perished or been damaged in some way. Create an inventory list of each bag so you can check each item off and double check 'borrowed' items have been replaced.

Make sure the load is fairly spread between the bags. Adults can usually carry more than children or elderly so spread the load. Have young adults take responsibility for their own 72 hour kits.

It's very important to include activities, games and books for children. Emergencies can be long with lots of waiting time. Without electricity, inside entertainment is not available. Playing outside is not likely to be safe. Keeping your family's minds occupied is important when there is much to worry about.

Slippers or shoes should be by your bed. The Canterbury Earthquake struck at 4.35am in the dark, while people were in bed. There are numerous stories of families escaping their houses with injured feet. Many people had breakage of vases and windows as well as brick walls that had collapsed blocking exits. Some had to jump out of smashed windows as the doorways had twisted and couldn't be opened. You will already be in a bad situation; don't make it worse by injuring yourself.

People have different reactions and reaction times. After a disaster event some people may be sitting dazed, some may panic, and some will be calm – you won't know how you will react until you are in the situation. Make a plan and have practice drills getting out of your house. Also know the safe places in your house. In an earthquake the standard advice is to stand in a doorway. Make sure each member of your family knows where you will meet if not at your house.

Keep cell phones charged. Having a corded phone that can be used during a power cut is useful.

Food and Water

Fuel and Light

Personal Supplies and Medication


Bedding and Clothing


Copies of Documents and Money

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