Prepare to stay safe, stay informed in emergencies

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This week is Get Ready Week and Civil Defence is advising people to get to know their neighbours.

Emergency Management Southland community adviser Delia Riley said this year the focus was stay safe, stay informed.

“During a disaster, people can go on our website or listen to their local radio station,” Ms Riley said.

It was important for people to know their neighbours because they could be isolated in an emergency, she said.

“People are really good at keeping in touch with friends who are far away over the internet but a lot of people don’t know their neighbours.”

Knowing your neighbours also meant that people could pool their resources, Ms Riley said.

Emergency Management Southland was organising community meetings throughout Southland to inform people on how to prepare for an emergency, she said.

There would be one in Gore on Monday at 7.30pm in the James Cumming Wing.

“Everyone is welcome.”

There would be a light supper afterwards.

plan of what would happen in an emergency, she said.

“It doesn’t have to be a formalised plan; it can be just a conversation around the dinner table.

“Let the kids know who would pick them up from school.”

It was also important for people to know where the supplies they would need in an emergency were, Ms Riley said.

“We say people need to be prepared for the first three to five days but being prepared for seven to 10 days is really good.”

Water was the most important supply people should make sure they had, she said.

“People should have three litres per person per day.”

Water can be stored in old soft-drink or water bottles, she said.

“You don’t have to go out and buy water bottles.”

Having a battery-operated radio and extra batteries was also important.

“People will need to listen to the local radio to get up-to-date information.”

Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard said getting accustomed to Civil Defence planning and preparedness should be a farmer’s priority.

“No-one can predict when the next natural disaster could hit,” Mr Hoggard said.

It was important for farmers to be prepared and get informed, he said.

“The flooding events this year are a wake-up call and still having significant impact on farmers and their communities.

“If you’re not considering a plan to get you through, you’re potentially risking your business and livelihood.”

Consider the worst-case scenario and identify what would be the priorities, Mr Hoggard said.

“Talk through with your staff potential situations.

“Something could happen while you’re off farm and they will be left to deal with, potentially, a crisis.

“It’s possible the farm could get isolated, and so consider what that means for staff.”