SunLive – Tsunami Warning Anniversary Triggers Reminder

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A reminder of what to do in the event of a potential tsunami is issued by the Bay of Plenty Civil Defense Emergency Management Team.

It comes on the first anniversary of Kiwis waking up to a strong 7.3 earthquake off the eastern North Island on Friday March 5 last year. A strong tsunami warning was issued soon after.

Senior Advisor for Tsunami Resilience at Bay of Plenty Emergency Management, Malinda Meads is now giving advice on how to be better prepared the next time a tsunami warning is issued.

“A year ago when we had this evacuation after the tsunami, a number of people would have realized that they weren’t 100 percent prepared,” Malinda says.

“It’s human nature to say ‘oh, I’ll go check it out someday’ and put it off.”

“We are asking people to remember what it was like a year ago and to make sure they are informed in advance.

“You don’t want to waste time getting online trying to find maps and your best evacuation route after an earthquake: the internet may be down or completely overloaded.”

Malinda evacuation advice in the event of a tsunami is as follows:

  • Make a plan. Find out the plans in place for work and schools. You may not be able to pick up your children. Roads can be congested. There will be school plans, so understand what they are and what it means for you and your family’s plan.
  • Know the danger. Familiarize yourself with your local tsunami hazard, the best evacuation routes, and where the nearest safe zone staging area is.
  • Information. Think about how you will get information. Check that your phone can receive Mobile Emergency Alert, follow Civil Defense on Facebook and Twitter, and listen to your local radio hosts.
  • Know your safe zone. Whether you’re at home, work or school, know what your escape step is and where it’s safe. The key is to practice where your escape walk will go. If it’s been a while, there may be a fence or a new building in the way! If you are on the coast and you feel an earthquake lasting more than a minute or you hear an unusual noise coming from the sea, immediately move to higher ground or go as far as possible to the inland.
  • Know how to get there. Walk, run or cycle if possible to reduce the chances of getting stuck in traffic. There were a lot of roads that were congested last year. Think of options that don’t involve getting into a car. Walking to a safe point can be faster and safer if you are able.
  • Know when to leave. Go when you receive a warning. It can be feeling an earthquake, receiving an official warning or an unofficial warning. Warnings can be found through phone alerts, the Red Cross Hazard app, social media, radio/TV or any unofficial/informal warnings through friends, family or of internet. Don’t wait for an official warning, always remember “long loud, go”.
  • A getaway bag. Consider an emergency bag with food and water if you have the time. Last year, people were evacuated for most of the day with little or no water. It may be a while before other agencies can help you, so if possible, take a bottle of water and some food.

Malinda also says to take your pets with you if it doesn’t cause a delay. However, you shouldn’t look for them, and if you’re not home, don’t go back to look for them – chances are they got to safety anyway.

“When evacuating, avoid hazards caused by earthquake damage, especially downed power lines,” she says.

“Do not return until you have received a clear and clear official message from Civil Protection.”

People evacuated from Ohope last year on Friday March 5, 2021 Photo: Whakatane News.

Finally, Malinda reminds the community of the Covid-19 restrictions in case of an emergency.

“An evacuation notice cancels and Covid-19 alert level requirements,” she explains.

“Stay two meters away from others if you can and it is safe to do so. Wear a mask or face covering only if you can grab one quickly and it won’t delay you from leaving. Maybe something else to consider putting in that getaway bag! »

For more information on planning, safe zones and what to do after an evacuation go to www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz.


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